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Japan Wood Products Prices

01-15th September 2007

Japan Wood Products Prices
Dollar Exchange Rates of  15th
Sep.  2007
Japan Yen 115.80

Reports From Japan

Prime Minister Abe to resign
On Wednesday, September 12, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his plan to step down after just a year in power, reported The Japan Times. The announcement came a few days after Abe said he would resign if he failed to continue operations related to Japan’s support for NATO-led counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan. Officials also noted that Abe’s health played a role in his decision to step down.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party was scrambling to find a successor to Abe, with former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda and Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga already announcing their intention to run for the LDP Presidency. However, LDP Secretary General Taro
Aso is seen as the front runner. In the wake of Abe’s intention to resign, The Wall Street Journal Asia reported on analysts’ fears that the next prime minister could worsen government debt and slow the drive toward higher productivity.

Forestry Agency sets new goal for domestic lumber supply
The Forestry Agency has set plans to expand domestic lumber supply by 35% to meet domestic demand for lumber by improving the quality of products and efficiency of physical distribution. The new initiative, entitled ‘Supporting Measures for Production of Locally- Produced Lumber and Improvement of Distribution Centers’, will commence in the next fiscal year.

Plywood imports continue to fall
Plywood imports dropped 17.9% from June 2007, falling to 3.19 million m3 from 3.55 million m3 in June. During the first week of September, prices for plywood also weakened, with the exception of 2.3mm thin boards and 5.5mm medium thick boards of lauan. Additionally, there have been delays in receiving construction permits in July, resulting in lowered plywood production at the domestic level beginning in August. Some plywood importers believe that the amount of plywood received in August could fall below 300,000 m3.

Japanese housing starts plummet
Total housing starts plummeted 23.40% in July, after briefly rebounding in June. Total units amounted to 81,714, a plunge not witnessed since the bubble economy collapsed since July 1997. Japanese officials claim that the drop is only temporary, attributing the July results to confusion in application procedures for building approval that became effective on 20 June 2007. Nevertheless, experts are still concerned that the weak building materials market and its effects could still have long term effects on housing starts. Wood-based units accounted for 46% of the
total housing starts, just slightly up from 40% in the previous month.


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  Plywood grades. Letter(s) on the left indicate face veneer(s), those on the right backing veneer(s). Veneer grade decreases in order B, BB, C, CC, etc. MBF           1000 Board Feet          
              Plywood   MDF           Medium Density Fibreboard
BF         Board Foot F.CFA         CFA Franc        
Sq.Ft     Square Foot  PHND             Pin hole no defect grade
Hoppus ton     1.8 cubic metres              Price has moved up or down

Source: ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report

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