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Wood Products Prices in The UK & Europe Market

1-15th August 2007

Report from the UK

Tropical species suffer eroding share of hardwood Market
Although hardwood supply has improved in 2007, many
tropical species have faced an overall declining share in
the UK market. This is due to a tighter supply of many
tropical species, reported TTJ. Nevertheless, the market
position for some species has remained strong and buyers
are looking to FSC certified timber. The species being
demanded by UK buyers include FSC certified iroko,
utile, movingue and padouk. Prices for traditionally highly
demanded species such as sapele have experienced price
hikes in recent weeks, with some suggesting that prices
have peaked for these species. This is in part due to the
lack of availability of sapele, even though it remains in
high demand. Problems with availability are also being
faced in Brazil and high prices in Asia have led buyers to
West African markets. Most contracts are being sold and
there seems to be a good outlook for hardwoods in the
construction sector. However, it will take some time
before the public absorb the notion that timber is a
sustainable and energy efficient building material.

UK braces for adverse impacts of financial turmoil
In light of corrections in the stock market and subprime
mortgage woes, the UK has been affected by the unstable
market trends. The Bank of England suggested that a
further rise in interest rates seems almost certain if
inflation is to be brought down. The latest Quarterly
Inflation Report said inflation should return to 2% by
2009, if rates move in line with market expectations.
Analysts expect a further quarter point rise to 6% by
March 2008.

New oil field narrows trade gap
BBC News reports that the UK trade gap fell unexpectedly
in July to a two-year low. The boost came amid a new on
stream oil field in the North Sea, the Buzzard field. The
new oil field has helped the UK export more crude oil than
it has imported since March 2005.

EUROPE  MARKET and Scandinavia

Summer holiday dampens European demand for African logs and lumber
A recent issue of EUWID reported slowing business in
African markets, especially for species such as gaboon and
okan. The low demand for logs and timber has to do with
the European summer holiday period and delayed
shipments of logs and lumber. Importers are reporting
good availability for sapele logs, while they are noticing
increased scarcity of sipo logs. Additionally, closelygrained
hardwoods are also difficult to obtain.

Regarding prices, some importers are reporting stagnating
prices due to lower levels of demand. There have been
isolated cases of price rises for sawn-through sapele logs
and sipo timber. However, no major price increases have
occurred (see prices in TTM 12:12, 12:13, and 12:14).
Prices have been low due to summer holidays. Despite
this, the US and UK markets are more active, with the
exception in the sales of iroko. Other importers have
reported stable demand in eastern European markets.
There is no glut in the African market, although there is
slack demand for species such as high quality idigbo and 

Cameroon agrees to begin VPA negotiations with EU
The Head of Delegation of the Cameroonian Delegation to
the EU has sent a letter to the EU announcing Camerooní»s
intention to enter into negotiations for a Voluntary
Partnership Agreement (VPA). The letter, which was sent
in mid-July, emphasized Camerooní»s commitment to
continuing the national debate over legality and a firm
commitment to combating illegal timber trade.

MCPFE conference to assist forest owners
TTJ Online said that the fifth Ministerial Conference on
the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) will discuss
how forest owners can benefit from the biomass sector and
will also address climate change issues via a multistakeholder
dialogue. The MCPFE conference will take
place from 5-7 November 2007, in Warsaw, Poland.

Rising imports from Malaysia have limited impact on
overall exports

EUWID noted that imports from Malaysia in 2006 grew by
3% from 2005, making about a third of Malaysiaí»s export
value a result of deliveries to the EU. Despite this, the total
export volume was approximately 16%, and, therefore,
had a limited impact on Malaysiaí»s overall volume of
lumber exports in 2006. Most of the decrease of Malaysian
exports was due to lower export volume to Asian
destinations. Although exports to Belgium rose by 13%,
Holland by 5%, and Germany by 7%, exports to Italy, the
UK and France decreased by 10%, 6% and 15%,

Nordenham nets more transhipments in 2006
Rhenus Midgard GmbH and Co. KG recorded increases of
10% in 2006 through the German port of Nordenham,
reported EUWID. Of the total, 116,465 m3, 101,837m3
were logs, which were up 11% from 2005. Transhipments
from Africa were only slightly higher than in 2005.
Rhenus Midgard Nordenham is part of the Rhenus group,
which has over 14,000 employees worldwide. Rhenus
Midgard raised its 2006 revenue from timber logistics to
EUR6 million.


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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