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Wood Products Prices in The UK & Europe Market

01-15 th June 2007

Report from the UK

BoE leaves rates unchanged
The Bank of England left interest rates unchanged, at 5.5%, during its 5-6 June meeting. Following earlier calls from the Monetary Policy Committee, analysts expect a further rate hike to 5.75% by the end of 2007. On 6 June, the FTSE 100 index rose to an eight-year high, but has since fallen in line with other international markets, due to changes taking place in the Chinese market.

Consumer confidence reaches highest level in May
As reported by Nationwide, consumer confidence was at its highest level in May. The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 99, from 90 in April, which is its highest in eighteen months. The report also noted that the public were upbeat about the economy and confident it would improve.

Hefty increase in imports of Chinese plywood
The TTJ said that UK imports of Chinese hardwood plywood account for 45% of the market. This rise
represents a three fold increase in figures for the first three months of the year. The survey also showed that Malaysian imports were up by more than 70% in the same quarter, compared to 2006, and Brazil and Indonesias market share dipped, 16% and 45% respectively.

EUROPE  MARKET

Russia exported less hardwood to Europe in 2006
As reported by EUWID, Russian exports of hardwood logs to Europe declined during the fourth quarter of 2006. Overall, there was a 6% drop of Russian exports during the fourth quarter, compared with the previous year. The decline in Europe was primarily due to lower log harvesting in north-western Russia, which was affected by adverse weather conditions. While shipments to the larger European buying countries had gone down, exports to China, the CIS and Turkey had risen.

Greenpeace wins appeal against Dutch timber tester
During a recent ruling against a Dutch timber tester Keurhout, the Board of Keurhout instructed the institution to withdraw its legal certificate for MTCC timber. Greenpeace initiated the appeal in 2005, after arguing that MTCC certification did not guarantee legality of the timber. Greenpeace is advising the Ministry of Housing, Social Planning and the Environment to apply conclusions of this ruling to other cases that suggest MTCC certification is sufficient proof of legality for timber products.

B&Q mulls strategies for India and South Korea
The British group Kingfisher is exploring whether to expand its B&Q brand into India, EUWID reported, at an estimated investment of US$250million. In contrast, Kingfisher are reviewing whether to close its B&Q Home branches in South Korea, largely due to their difficulties in finding further property to establish a nationwide presence in South Korea. Kingfishers first quarter profits improved, with retail profits up 29.5% to GBP88.6 million.

DLH Group yields positive results in first quarter
Danish timber merchant Dalhoff Larsen and Hornemann A/S (DLH) continued positive results in its first quarter sales, operations and earnings, reported EUWID. Net profit was about 58% higher than the same period of last year, and improvements in sales and results were present in all three divisions of the company. Although DLH faced difficulty in securing raw materials from the Republic of Congo, its sales in its Hardwood division were up 5.7% to DKK1.03billion. Sales in its building materials division
also were up 16% to DKK432million. The companyestimates that it can generate sales revenues of DKK7.5 billion in 2007, and achieve an operating result of DKK330million.

EU softwood plywood quota expires
The EUWID reported that the duty free quota of imports of softwood plywood into the EU expired on 18 May 2007. The European Commission allocated the last volumes of the quota on 24 May, out of a total of 650,000 m3. Once the quota has been exhausted, incoming softwood plywood deliveries will be subject to a 7% levy.


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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