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North American Lumber Market

16-31th May 2007


Brazil retains greatest market share of US lumber imports
This third article of a series focuses on wood imports by country of origin from 2001 to 2006. Statistics from the US on tropical lumber imports indicated that overall tropical lumber imports in the US advanced from 231,615 m3 in 2001 to 353,985 m3 in 2005. However, imports steeply declined in 2006 by approximately 55,000 m3, or 24% from 2005 levels.

In 2006, the US imported two-thirds of its tropical wood requirements from Central and South America, one-fourth form Asia and less than 10% from Africa. In the same year, Brazilí»s export volume was 36,204 m3, down 43% from 2001 levels. Brazil maintained the top spot of the market share based on export volumes (21%) and export values, despite the fact that Brazilí»s prime export was the relatively inexpensive virola mahogany species. Despite this, 2006 shipments of all tropical wood from Brazil were 27.4 million, or 36.1 million less than in 2001. Supply of virola (7,945 m3 in 2006) was falling, due to environmental concerns about the Amazon rain forests.

Ecuadorí»s market share increased from 3.9% to 19.2% in 2006. Although volume of imports in 2006, 33,915m3 , was up 200% from 10,713 m3 in 2001, it was down from 2004 volumes. Ecuadorí»s primary export species was Balsa wood, which made up almost all the 99.8% of wood exports.

Peruvian imports had also significantly decreased from 2001. In 2006, imports stood at 17,727 m3, and 7,000 m3 consisted of mahogany species. Peru was also increasing its exports of virola, with current volume standing at 3,454 m3. Although Peruí»s market share of US lumber imports in 2006 on the basis of volume was 10%, its share on a value basis was 16%, or US$21.2 million, largely due to the cost of expensive mahogany imports.

Outside of Latin America, Malaysiaí»s share of overall imports of tropical woods fell from 12% in 2001 to 11% in 2006. The most abundant species shipped from Malaysia to the US were red meranti and keruing. Contrary to the generally declining volumes of wood exports, Malaysia
increased its red meranti exports from 2001-2006.

Although other Latin American exportersí» volumes were each under 10%, Bolivia was able to increase its tropical lumber exports to the US during the past five years. This occurred despite the fact that Bolivian shipments of mahogany had been declining.

Among the species exported to the US, teak was the more expensive wood. The average price of imported teak was 1695 / m3. However, teak prices fell 25% from 2001 prices, despite the fact that the price index for overall tropical lumber imports in the US increased 7% during 2001-2005.

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Abbreviations

LM        Loyale Merchant, a grade of log parcel  Cu.m         Cubic Metre
QS         Qualite Superieure    Koku         0.278 Cu.m or 120BF
CI          Choix Industriel                                                       FFR            French Franc
CE         Choix Economique                                                        SQ              Sawmill Quality
CS         Choix Supplimentaire      SSQ            Select Sawmill Quality
FOB      Free-on-Board     FAS            Sawnwood Grade First and
KD        Kiln Dry                               Second 
AD        Air Dry        WBP           Water and Boil Proof
Boule    A Log Sawn Through and Through MR              Moisture Resistant
              the boards from one log are bundled                      pc         per piece      
              together                      ea                each      
BB/CC  Grade B faced and Grade C backed MBF           1000 Board Feet          
              Plywood   MDF           Medium Density Fibreboard
BF         Board Foot F.CFA         CFA Franc        
Sq.Ft     Square Foot               Price has moved up or down

Source: ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report

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