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International Log & Sawnwood Prices

01 – 15th March 2021



  Vaccinations begin but no sign yet of firming demand
The much anticipated revival of demand in the first quarter
has not yet materialised and with just a few weeks left in
the quarter prospects are not good. The roll-out of
vaccines in Europe and in the US, while raising consumer
sentiment, has not translated into increases in orders.

Log supply becoming a problem in Gabon
Delays in trucking (and now bad weather) is impacting the
flow of logs in Gabon. The corona control measures
imposed has resulted in trucks being able to only make 1-2
trips per week instead of the usual 2-3 trips.

Peeler mills in the GSEZ, which utilise mainly okoume,
are having to accept sawmill grade logs and to recover
peeler billets from these lower quality logs. Producers
report prices for okoume sawnwood, which have been
rising, are now under pressure from Chinese buyers.

Finance is available for companies up-to-date with

In response to the current crisis the Gabonese government,
with the support of the banks, established an emergency
financing window to provide assistance to companies.

Because of criticisms that the system was not working
well, in an interview with the media, the Minister of the
Economy and Recovery, Nicole Janine Lydie Roboty
Mbou, reconfirmed the government’s intention to provide
support and reiterated that companies can take advantage
of the financing provided they can show they are up to
date with Gabon's National Social Security Fund (CNSS),
National Health Insurance and Social Guarantee Fund
(CNAMGS) and taxes.

Pirate attacks rise in Gulf of Guinea
Maritime security around the Horn of Africa has improved
but the seas off the West African coast have become more
risky for shipping. Early attacks were close to the Niger
Delta but now pirates have extended their activities
beyond the Nigerian coast as far as Benin and Togo.
Nigeria, which has a powerful naval force, has joined with
its neighbours, Benin and Togo to launch joint patrols.
Similar cooperation is taking place between Cameroon,
Equatorial Guinea and the DRC.

There is a regional anti-piracy effort supported by France,
the US, Spain and Denmark. The US and French navy
exercises with the security forces in the region. However,
despite this collaboration, pirate attacks remain frequent.

In Benin the International Maritime Bureau confirmed that
off the coast of Benin 11 ship attacks occurred in 2020 and
in Nigerian waters there were 34 incidents last years. On
10 March pirates attacked a Dutch tanker in the Gulf of
Guinea kidnapping 15 crew members but 6 others were
safe and unharmed on the ship.



  AGI urges reduction in lending rates
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is lobbying for
a further cut in the lending rate so businesses can compete
with their counterparts in neighbouring countries. Though
the cost of loans have fallen by about 10% since 2017 to
21% the Policy Rate set by the Bank of Ghana still stands
at 14.5%. The Chief Executive of AGI, Seth Twum
Akwaboah, believes lending rates in the country are still
not competitive enough. He, however, applauded the
current Bank of Ghana administration for pushing the rates
down since assuming office.


National Bank to support businesses
The government has reiterated its plan to create a National
Development Bank to support the manufacturing sector.
The plan is to utilise the 100 billion cedi Ghana COVID-
19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprise Support
Initiative. The aim of this initiative is to revitalise and
modernise the economy.

To prepare for post-COVID recovery Ghana will
implement projects such as;
 Supporting commercial forest plantations and
attracting educated youth into commercial
 Building the country’s manufacturing sector
 Establishing Ghana as a regional market hub

The Ministry of Finance has allocated US$50 million
towards the operationalisation of the proposed National
Development Bank.

Ghanaians urged to participate in nationwide tree

With the launch of the Green Ghana Project which will
encourage all Ghanaians to participate in a nationwide tree
planting exercise the President vowed to implement an
extensive afforestation programme this year. This was
announced in his State of the Nation Address. Last year an
estimated 24 million seedlings were supplied for planting
under the government’s Youth in Afforestation and
Reforestation project. Species planted included teak,
cedrela, gmelina, oram, emire, mahogany and rosewood.

On the economy, the President said he expected economic
growth to rebound to around 5% this year which is above
the IMF’s 4.2% projection for Ghana. Early this year the
government eased some corona control restrictions to
boost economic activity in tandem with the nation-wide
vaccination exercise. The government expects about 20
million people will have been vaccinated by mid-year.

Traditional Chiefs urged to support forest protection
The Chief Executive of the FC, Mr. John Allotey has
proposed to Chiefs and community leaders in forest
reserve communities that they could reintroduce the
traditional ways through which the forest was protected
from excessive or illegal activities. He said this at a forum
to mark this year’s World Wildlife Day on the theme:
“Forests and livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet.”

In the past local and traditional systems restricted people
in the community from entering forests at times and in
areas considered sacred. These were no-go areas on certain
days and occasions, and any entry required the explicit
permission of the local Chiefs.

This traditional system served as a check to protect the
forest and the biodiversity. Unauthorised activity in
defiance of the traditions was immediately addressed by
local Chiefs and opinion leaders according to the
traditional rules and this helped ensure discipline and
eliminated unauthorised activities.

Allotey also said a lack of awareness, poverty and
negligence were root causes of the destruction of forests
and wildlife and called on the media, law enforcement
agencies and the judiciary to help protect the forest to
sustain the people and the planet.



   Everything hinges on vaccination programme
In early March, Malaysia recorded 316,000 cases at a rate
of over one thousand a day. A great deal now rests on the
national vaccination effort launched for medical and other
frontliners. In April senior citizens and people in high risk
groups will get an opportunity to be vaccinated.

Manufacturers need to embrace automation and
Looking ahead to the post-pandemic times many in the
timber industry are seeking ways to ways to boost
productivity. According to Dr. Mohd Khairuddin Aman
Razali, the Minister for Plantation Industries and
Commodities, the wood products manufacturing sector
needs to embrace automation and digitalisation to secure
its future.

He said the industry cannot continue to be dependent on
foreign workers and must take the first steps in employing
experienced engineers who could lead modernisation

The Education and Plantation Industries and Commodities
Ministries have launched a Timber Industry Engineer
Placement and Internship Programme in Kuala Lumpur
involving the Malaysian Timber Council, six timber
associations and eight universities.

Raw material supply and labour will be a challenge

The Sabah State timber industry experienced a decline in
almost all sub-sectors in 2020 according to the Sabah Timber
Industries Association (STIA) president, Tan Peng
Juan. He said the two main exports, plywood and
sawnwood experienced a 44% decline in the volumes
exported during the year.

Tan said he anticipates that many upstream and
downstream companies will be faced with two key
challenges when demand picks up - long term issues affecting
raw material supply and a labour shortage. The Sabah
timber sector needs to address efficiency and competitiveness.


Sarawak 2019 and 2020 exports
Sarawak export volumes collapsed in 2020 for all of the
main export products except wood chips.


  Five point strategy to boost exports
The Director General of National Export Development in
the Ministry of Trade, Kasan, has said exports are one of
the components of GDP that can promote national
economic recovery. To realise this the Ministry of Trade
has developed a five point export boosting strategy:
maintaining export markets and the main products,
prioritising export-oriented small and medium enterprises
(SMEs), penetrating non-traditional markets, utilising
trade agreements and conducting regulatory reforms
particularly through the Job Creation Act.

Kasan believes emerging markets and non-traditional
markets will play an even greater role in the future. He
pointed out that emerging market countries will soon
contribute around 70% to the world economy and about
half of this will be from Asian countries.

Large potential for growth in US market
Demand for wood products in the United States is
projected to increase this year and two executives of
major exporters said their companies are optimistic there
will be a further rise in demand from the United States.

The executives said Indonesia’s market share for furniture
in the US is still small so there is a huge opportunity for
export growth. A fibreboard exporter also plans a stronger
focus on the US market this year.


Non-timber forest products can generate income and
lift the economy

During a recent technical guidance and capacity building
training exercise for communities in forest areas the
Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya said
non-timber forest products have enormous potential and
can have a role in increasing household income, improving
local economies and preserving the forest. She said
however, NTFPs have not received much attention from
the community, especially forest farmer groups.

The Minister expressed optimism that NTFP will become
part of main stream forest utilisation in Indonesia.

Non-timber forest commodities that have the potential
include eucalyptus leaves, coffee, latex, bamboo, corn,
lemongrass, elephant grass, palm sugar, gamal, rattan,
sugar palm, cloves, resin, gaharu, sap, bark, incense,
candlenut, walnuts and honey, said the Minister.


Urgently expedite negotiations on international

The Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, has urged the
Ministry of Trade to quickly expedite negotiations on
international agreements between Indonesia and partner
nations. The President said this will open up new markets
such as the IA CEPA (Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive
Economic Partnership Agreement) and deals with South
Korea and the EU.

The Indonesia-Australia CEPA was signed on 4 March
2019 and took effect on 5 July 2020, after the ratification
process spanning 10 months. Meanwhile, Indonesia and
South Korea officially signed a Comprehensive Economic
Partnership Agreement 18 December. The Indonesia-
European Union Comprehensive Economic Partnership
Agreement (I-EU CEPA) negotiations are still on-going.

Plan to restore 1.2 million hectares of peat by 2024
Acting Director General of Forestry Planning and
Environmental Management in the Ministry of
Environment and Forestry (KLHK), Ruandha Agung
Sugardiman said the ministry plans to restore 1.2 million
hectares of peatland by 2024 in order to achieve
Indonesia's international commitment to achieve carbon
emission target. In addition, the Ministry of Environment
and Forestry will also carry out mangrove restoration in
nine provinces. The total area to be restored is 600.000

In related news, Indonesian’s Environment and Forestry
Minister, Siti Nurbaya, has revealed a dramatic fall in the
country’s deforestation rate during the 2019/2020 period.
The data suggest a 75% decline compared to deforestation
in the 2018/2019 period.

Deforestation of 462,500 hectares was reported in the
2018/2019 period and this dropped to just 115,500
hectares in the 2019/2020 period. These figures refer to
net deforestation.



  Myanmar news
Communication and the flow of news from Myanmar has
been disrupted. The following news summary is from
multiple sources.

 Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) continues the
suspension of log sales.
 Most shipping lines have suspended services for
the safety of staff.
 There is growing concern among international
 A planned online meeting between the army
appointed Investment Minister and business
associations led by the Union of Myanmar
Federation of Commerce and Industries was
cancelled because of non-participation by the
business sector.
 The State Administration Council (current
military regime) has revoked the permits of major
print and online media companies. This was done
after the media reported on the killings by the
army and police.
 The civil disobedience movement continues. MPs
elected on 8 November 2020 have formed what is
termed, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu
Hluttaw (translation Committee Representing
Union Parliament) and is issuing statements on
behalf of the elected NLD-Government.
 Most commercial banks are closed but they have
now been threatened, open or have license


Myanmar Federations call for support
On 5 March the Myanmar Union Federations called for
international support.


The statement from the Federation reads:
“Kyae Zin (F), 19 years, Mandalay University, Mandalay,
Nyein Thu Aung (M), 19 years, Magwe Institute of
Technology, Magwe region, Arkar Moe (M), 25 years, N.
Okkalapa, Yangon, Nay Myo Aung, (M), 16 years,
Mandalay regional, Min Khant Kyaw (M), 17 years,
Sagaing region, Htet Wai Htoo (M), 17 years, Mon state.

These are some of the future of Burma shot by Min Aung
Hlaing’s military in the cities of Burma. More than 50
have been accounted for.

Some were lucky to have funerals by their families while
many have disappeared. The people’s movement against
the military regime that staged a coup has continued all
over Burma for over a month and is still continuing. More
walks of life are participating and all sectors of work are

The following are some areas where our members have
successfully demonstrated that a soldier or a military
officer cannot run each and all technical issues.

As of 5 March all spheres of energy extraction are
stopped. The Thanpayakan refinery has been stopped—the
military took away three weeks’ supply of processed fuel
(some two weeks ago)—and no reserve left.

The Nyaungdone gas production that gets about 270
million kays per day is shut down. The Ayadaw gas
production that feeds the gas to run the turbines of the
military-owned factories in WAZI township, Magwe
region, are stopped, and none of the factories are
operating. That is why they can’t print the bank notes and
bullets and so are buying the bullets and the bank notes are
printed—with Chinese words on the paper packing.

No trains are running.

Of all the CDM activities, the Foreign Affairs Office
personal CDM led by UN Permanent Representative U
Kyaw Myo Tun—from the UN Permanent Representative
office—5 persons in Washington D.C., 4 persons in
Geneva, 1 person in Berlin, have rocked the regime.

The U.S. government has blocked $1 billion by U.S.
Executive Order 14014.

The American Chamber, the Euro Chamber, the Italy
Myanmar Business association, the French Chamber of
Commerce, and the British Chamber of Commerce in
Myanmar have declared they will not meet with the

The World Bank has informed the regime that all
drawdowns are suspended at the moment
The Karen National Union/Kachin Independence Army
have announced that the coup is not acceptable and that it
takes away the credibility of the peace process.

Shooting with machine guns/using snipers/using planes
are their last resort.

What we request now is a harsh comprehensive sanction
that can finish off the regime and its structure.

It will hurt everybody. More the grassroots, the daily
incomeof people. And these are the people who die now
for want of change. After suffering abuse of the eco-social
system by the military over five decades, now facing death
from bullets shot by our own military in our own homes,
without external invasion, and we now call for clear-cut
international sanctions on the country.

We will suffer another five years to be rid of these military
thugs and their “we hold weapons, we can do whatever,
whenever we want” insolence, their doctrine, and practice.
And that is the only way, to rebuild Burma from scratch—
without any interference from the military.”


  India's Manufacturing PMI
The IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing
Managers’ Index (PMI) showed a decline in India’s
manufacturing activity in February 2021. The
manufacturing sector activity rose to an almost eight-year
high in January.


Expand timber trade with Russia
According to the Indian Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan
Shringla, India and Russia should diversify their trade
beyond the traditional sectors and mention was made of
opportunites for expanded trade in wood products.

India-Russia trade amounted to US$10.11 billion in 2019-
2020 but they have agreed a bilateral trade target of
US$30 billion by 2025. To achieve this consideration is
being given to cooperation on transport and logistics, ship
building, pharmaceuticals, agro-industry products and
timber among others.


Strong demand for bigger homes
Demand for homes in India is said to be at an all-time high
thanks to low interest rates, changes buyer preferences and
some tax cuts in various States. Home buyers have shifted
preferences to bigger homes to make ‘work-from-home’
more convenient. Niranjan Hiranandani, President,
National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO)
has expressed appreciation of the government initiatives
that have led to a boost in home demand.


Economy gets boost from budget
The Indian economy experienced a sharper contraction in
growth than most Western economies and where these
countries cushioned the shock to their economies with
quick and massive finacial stimulus, India’s stimulus was
slow and smaller. As a result India has seen a sharp
contraction in growth over the past 12 months but the
economic policies implicit in the country’s 2021–22
Central government budget now focuses on boosting
public infrastructure and capital expenditure whose share
in GDP has increased from 1.5 per cent in 2017–18 to 2.5
per cent in the 2021–22 estimates.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) has projected that the Indian
economy will grow at 12.6% in Fiscal 22, the highest
among G20 countries driven by the recent stimulus
proposals. For the timber manufacturing sector the budget
is expected to boost demand and drive production higher.

The wood based panel sector should see sustained growth
this year. The panel sector has seen sales recover close to
pre-pandemic levels but the decorative veneer sector is
still suffering slow sales mainly because demand from the
hospitality sector remains slugish according to
PlyReporter. (February 2021 editorial).


  US$14.5 billion from forestry exports in 2021
Forest product exports are expected to rise to US$14.5
billion this year, up 12% against 2020. This was
announced by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and
Rural Development, Ha Cong Tuan, in an interview with
the Lao Dong newspaper. Exports are likely to reach
US$20 billion 2025.

Over the next five years efforts will be made to sustain the
forest cover at 42%, expand markets, develop long-term
trade partnerships and promptly address trade issues for
mutual benefits in line with international commitments.

The minister mentioned that despite COVID-19 the timber
industry had a good year. Vietnam exported forest
products worth over US$13.22 billion, up 16.9% year on
year almost 6% higher than targeted. Vietnam ranks fifth
globally, second in Asia, and first in Southeast Asia in
terms of forestry exports.

He pointed out that the US, Japan, China, the EU and the
Republic of Korea are the top five importers of Vietnam’s
timber and the combined value exceeded US$11 billion or
about 90% total forestry exports last year. Vietnam has
more than 5,500 companies operating in wood and forest
product processing, which generate millions of jobs.


Revenue from forest environmental services to top
US$121 million

The Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST)
aims to collect VND2.8 trillion (US$121.7 million) from
forest environmental services this year.

Under this policy, forest service users such as tourism
businesses or hydropower plants will have to pay
according to their use of forest resources to forest owners
which could be individuals, households, organizations or

According to VNFOREST Deputy Director, Phạm Văn
Diển, forest carbon sequestration and emission reduction
services, a new feature of 2021, will add between
VND300 to 500 billion to the sector’s annual income from
environmental services. Last year the revenue from those
services stood at VNĐ 2.56 trillion, meeting 91 per cent of
the yearly target.

The revenues from forest environment services supported
226 forest management boards and 138,000 forest owners,
while creating income for 81 forestry companies and
livelihoods for more than 172,000 families in mountainous
areas, helping lift their living standards.

Revenues from forest environmental services have become
a sustainable source of finance that helps to increase the
value of the forestry sector as well as contributes to GDP
growth, according to VNFOREST.


Plan to plant 1 billion trees
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has
submitted a plan to the Prime Minister to plant 1 billion
trees between the 2021-2025. In 2021 alone Vietnam will
plant about 182 million trees and between 2022 and 2025
the country will plant over 200 million trees each year.

According to the Ministry, in recent years, although the
forest coverage in Vietnam has increased the quality of
natural forests has not improved, the function of protection
forests has not been fully promoted and the density of
trees to people in urban and rural areas is still low
compared to that of many other countries.

Meanwhile, the impact of climate change and natural
disasters has become increasingly complex affecting all
aspects of socio-economic life and environment and
threatening the country’s sustainable development.
Planting and protecting forests and developing trees for
environmental protection are of vital significance.



  Rising revenue from forest concessionaires
Since 2010 the federal government collected R$102
million in forest concession fees (as of February 2021).
The amount was collected from the 15 contracts under
implementation. Forest concession allocations are
coordinated by the Brazilian Forest Service (SFB) which
falls under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and

2020 was the best year with almost R$28 million in
collections, an increase of almost 60% compared to 2019.

According to SFB, the high value collected in 2020 was
the result of measures taken to optimise payments. To
facilitate payments the SFB introduced a system allowing
payment by quarterly installments.

The SFB has also introduced measures to minimise the
financial impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on
forest concession contracts under its management. SFB
said that social isolation and quarantine had an negative
impact on production and trade and to take account of this
it postponed the payment due of installments to help
companies maintain jobs and remain viable.

Furthermore, SFB together with the National Bank for
Economic and Social Development offered
concessionaires emergency credit lines utilizing funds
created by the Federal Government to support small and
medium-sized companies.

E-commerce saves furniture sector
The pandemic had a negative impact on all manufacturing
sectors and between January and May 2020 retail sales
dropped over 50% compared to the same period in 2019.
However, after the initial downturn, the furniture sector
saw sales grow through e-commerce. Until recently the
furniture sector never sold much on-line with around 6%
of all sales being made by digital selling. This has now
risen to 10%.

Beginning in the second half of 2020 furniture sales
increased considerably. Out of 12 States surveyed five
reported higher than average sales with only two states
registering a decline in sales.

In terms of prices for furniture the Producer Price Index
(IPP) for the furniture industries which measures the trend
in prices “at the factory door” without taxes and freight,
indicated that from January to December 2020 there was
an average 20% increase.

Timber an important part of Acre's exports in 2020
The Amazon State of Acre is one of the main producers
and exporters of tropical timber and has the lowest
deforestation rate among all the states of the Legal

The value of timber exports in 2020 represented 28% of
total shipments from the State which were worth US$8
million according to the Observatory of the Permanent
Forum of Development of Acre but in 2019 exports of
timber were worth US$12 million.

The main destination for timber and wood products
exports from the State of Acre in 2020 was the United
States with 41%, followed by the Netherlands with 19%
and China with 12%. The main ports for export were
Manaus (53%) in the state of Amazonas and Paranaguá
(42%) in the state of Paraná, in the South Region of Brazil.

Furniture exports in 2020
Brazilian furniture exports ended 2020 2.5% lower year on
year according to the Brazilian Association of Furniture
Industries (ABIMÓVEL) and IEMI - Market Intelligence.
As a result, the average price of exported furniture fell
almost 7% but this drop was offset by the appreciation of
the US Dollar against the Brazilian currency.

Furniture exports to the United States stand out with a
significant share (40%) of export values, representing an
11.5% increase compared to 2019. Second in the ranking
is the United Kingdom with an 8.6% share in 2020
followed by Uruguay (7.4%), Chile (6.6%), Peru (5.1%)
and Paraguay (3.3%).


  Disruption of harvesting in 2020 undermined exports
2020 wood product exports were the lowest in the last
decade mainly as a result of a shortage of raw material
because harvesting, which is restricted to between May
and November, was disrupted.

Looking forward to the post-pandemic time the manager
of Services and Extractive Industries of ADEX, Lucía
Rodríguez Zunino, highlighted the need to adopt new
processes for forest concessions that allow the industry to
have a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials.

He said this would encourage investment in tracking
technologies and promote the responsible and sustainable
management of Amazonian resources. He said Peru has
around 17 million hectares of permanent production
forests but only approximately 3 million hectares are
commercially utilised.

Address infrastructure to be more competitive
The Association of Exporters (ADEX) has reported
January exports (all products) totalled just over US$3,560
million, a slight contraction (-2.5%) compared to the same
month in 2020.

The president of ADEX, Erik Fischer Llanos, pointed out
that while Peruvian companies did not stop production
measures adopted in international market countries drove
down demand. He said the global outlook is still not very
clear due which generates uncertainty that undermines
private sector confidence.Fischer commented that Peru
needs to improve its international competitiveness and
addressing infrastructure (ports, airports and highways) is
essential. Also, to attract investment, there must be a
robust legal framework and strengthened state institutions.


Wood/plastic products from residues in Ucayali
A research group at the National Intercultural University
of the Amazon (UNIA) has been working on wood/plastic
composite technologies that could allow production of
composite material made from recycled products for use in
light construction.

The plastics recycling industry is well established
however, in Ucayali there are only recycling companies
but not companies that transform this resource. The aim of
this research is to lay the foundation for commercial wood
and plastic residue transformation into value added
products and by so doing eliminate wood and plastic
residues from the environment.

"Our initiative has been implementing a laboratory
specialized in plastic-wood compounds, which will allow
generating added value to the solid waste that currently
generates environmental pollution in the Ucayali region, in
addition to promoting the use of an environmentally
friendly material that does not contribute with
deforestation because it makes the use of wood more
efficient”, said Gilberto Domínguez Torrejón, principal
investigator in the project.

He said the group will develop a business plan for the
production and commercialisation of wood/plastic
compounds that will contribute to the development of the
Ucayali región.

Training professionals forest product tracking
The National Forest and Wildlife Service (Serfor) reported
that it is developing a training and technical assistance
programme for more than 70 professionals from 16
regions in the country who are in charge of monitoring and
verifying the legal origin of forest products.

Specialists from regional forestry authorities accessed a
new virtual platform ‘Serfor Educa’ to update their
knowledge on the correct use and filling of the forms in
the Operations Book for primary processors of timber.

The Operations Book is an important forest management
too and its proper use guarantees the legal origin and
traceability of wood products. Its use will be mandatory as
of April 1 of this year.

The regions that have participated in this training are San
Martín, Huánuco, Madre de Dios, Loreto, Ucayali,
Arequipa, Apurímac, Cajamarca, Puno, Cusco, Ica, Lima
and Áncash.






Source:ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report

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