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International Log & Sawnwood Prices
01 – 15th Jul 2023


 Orders, even from regular buyers, flat
Producers across the region say business is slow but stable and that there have been few price changes. Demand in Asian markets is flat even in the Philippines which is an important market. A sign that manufactures of wood products are experiencing quiet international demand is that buyers for the Philippines have recently begun to engage in price negotiations, this is unusual.

Due to falling orders for sawn okoumé for export sawmills are adjusting production and ramping up milling of azobe and okan. Increased availability of sawn azobe and okan, which are popular in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, raises fears of a downward pressure on prices.

Transport challenges in Gabon
It is rumoured that the rail operator in Gabon plans to acquire four additional trains and 100 wagons specifically designed for the transportation of logs to expand log transport capacity.

This comes as the Minister of Transport has prohibited the movement of heavy goods vehicles on weekends and public holidays. This will affect the transport of logs and wood products. According to media reports any logging vehicle that is on public roads in violation of the decree will be liable to a fine ranging from 500,000 FCFA to one million FCFA and the immediate seizure of the vehicle.


Gabon’s export sales slide
In the first quarter of 2023, Gabon's sales to its top ten customers fell by 13% compared to the last quarter of 2022. Gabon's exports to China fell by 28% in the first quarter of this year compared to the fourth quarter of 2022 mainly due to the decline in manganese exports which dropped almost 70%.

Exports to Italy fell over 40% due to lower sales of sawnwood (-89%) and oil (-32%). Exports to Indonesia recorded a sharp drop of 46% and exports to Israel dropped 39%.


Measuring impact of forestry sector on the economy
In late June Gabon’s Minister of Water and Forests, the Sea and the Environment was presented with a report on the contribution of the timber industry to the Gabonese economy conducted by Ernst and Young and Mays Mouissi Consulting with the aim of measuring the impact of the forestry sector on the economic, fiscal and social development.

A summary of the main findings has been reported by Alix-Ida Mussavu writing for the Gabon Review where he says between 2014-2022:

 turnover in the logging sector increased fromCFA28 billion to CFA93 billion

 turnover in the forestry industry (particularly the veneer sector) increased by CFA455 billion francs (+290%) to reach CFA611 billion francs in 2022

The Gabon Review article provides additional production statistics.



FSC roundtable on EUDR
FSC France held its Annual General Meeting on 29 June and this was followed by a round-table discussion dedicated to discussion of the EUDR. The aim of the round-table was to enable players involved with FSC to gain a full understanding of the subject and to raise questions on the compatibilities and divergences between FSC and this regulation.



Through the eyes of industry
The latest GTI report lists the challenges identified by the private sector in the Republic of Congo and Gabon.



 Calls for tax reliefs in mid-year budget
The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has urged government to consider introducing some tax relief in the mid-year budget review. According to the President of the GNCCI, Clement Ose-Amoako, this has become necessary to offer much needed respite for businesses and spur economic recovery.

The Chamber is of the view that the austerity measures introduced in the 2023 budget to meet conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme have gravely affected local businesses but, as the macro-economic conditions are showing signs of improvement, the government could remove some of the “tormenting” taxes.

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and other businesses have also called on government to review the current high taxes which are hindering businesses growth. Some economists have also called for major review of fiscal targets and recalibration of taxes in the mid-year budget as there are serious concerns about Ghana’s tax system because it is considered as undermining competiveness.


Heavy rains affected harvesting
Heavy rain was reported in areas in the south of the country during June leading to flooding and the collapse of bridges so many road were impassable days. The heavy rain hampered harvesting operations and the transport of logs from the forest to mills. This resulted in lower production which will show up in the statistics.

Ghana has two rain seasons, the major season is around May to June and the minor season around October to November. The Ghana Meteorological Agency releases 12-hourly and 24-hourly weather forecast for the regions across the country to various stakeholders as guide for their planning purposes.

Billet exports down sharply
Billet exports to major markets in Asia deceased by almost 60% from 9,219 cu.m in the first quarter 2022 to 3,701 cu.m in the first quarter this year. This is was reported in the first quarter statistics report published by the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Forestry Commission (FC).

The research and statistics unit of the TIDD is responsible for the capturing and compilation of timber wood products exported from country. Reports from the data are tabulated and published monthly for planning and decision-making processes.

Of the ten wood products exported during the first quarter of 2023 air-dried sawnwood accounted for 53% (40,346 cu.m) which was only about half of total export volumes for the period (76,779cu.m) while billet exports accounted for around 5% (3,701cu.m).

The drop in volume of billets affected the corresponding revenue earned for the period, by close to 58%.

Ghana’s revenue generated from wood product exports in the first quarter of 2023 increased 15% to Euro 34.46 million compared to the same period last year. The corresponding export volume for the period was 76,779 cu.m this year compared to 74,853 cu.m last year.

Air and kiln dried sawnwood accounted for 66% of the total value of wood exports for the first quarter while the contribution by plywood exports was 8.5%, seven other products contributed the balance.

Ghana will need billions for climate change adaption
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said the country will need over US$10 billion to effectively implement its climate change adaptation action plans.

Speaking at the first workshop on the ‘Global Shield against Climate Risks and Global Risk Modelling Alliance’ the Minister said, given the cost of actions needed it was critical to have an innovative climate financing mechanism so that adaptation plans can be implemented.

Under the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) some US$4.2 billion, representing 34% of the total, needs to be raised at the national level while the balance has to be raised from international sources.

The NDCs are countries' self-defined national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) detailing what they will do to help meet the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as well as adapt to climate impacts and ensure sufficient finance to support these efforts.



In a related development, data from the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Global Forest Watch (GFW) platform indicates that Ghana has lost about 18,000 hectares of primary forest in 2022, close to a 70% increase from that of 2021


 Study suggests bleak outlook for furniture exports
Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research is reported as saying the outlook for the Malaysian furniture market remains bleak as the sector's largest export destination, the US, continues to experience housing issues.

According to the research firm the US housing market began to cool following the start of the Federal Reserve's interest rate increases in 2022 as mortgage payments began to rise. The HLIB commented that housing starts have stalled and existing homeowners are reluctant to sell as many have low interest rate mortgages which they could loose if they were to sell.

The Malaysian Timber Council reported that wooden furniture exports in the first four months of 2023 declined by almost 40%. Singapore, Malaysia’s second largest export market for wooden furniture, increased imports in early 2023 helping to offset some of the decline in US imports.


Forest loss remained low in 2022
A report by the World Resources Institute and the University of Maryland’s Global Forest Watch noted that Malaysia had managed to keep its rate of primary forest loss to near-record low levels.

The WRI report says “In Malaysia, primary forest loss remained low in 2022 and has leveled off in recent years. Corporate and government action also appear to be contributing. No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation (NDPE) commitments now cover the majority of the palm oil sector and in 2018 the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) strengthened its certification requirements. In addition, the Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Board was formed in 2015 to certify sustainably grown palm oil.

In 2017 the government of Malaysia mandated MSPO certification starting in 2020. Positive government action has continued in more recent years, with a plantation area cap established in 2019 through 2023 and new forestry laws enacted in 2022 to stiffen penalties for illegal logging”.

In a statement the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Ministry explained that achieving reduced deforestation was due to a number of initiatives including law enforcement, the adoption of certification in the palm oil industry, the Ecological Fiscal Transfers (EFTs) for Biodiversity Conservation initiative which is being promoted nationwide.



Encouraging communiy involvement in forest conservation
Sabah Chief Minister, Hajiji Noor, wants the State Forestry Department to include a new classification of forest reserve for the community in the Forest Enactment 1968. This is to encourage the local communities to get involved in forest conservation efforts, in addition to future settlement consideration for them according to their needs and suitability.


Preparing for the use of bamboo in the construction industry
The Biotechnology Research Institute at the University Malaysia, Sabah has worked on bamboo tissue culture to create bamboo for the use in development of construction materials. The research team at BRI is perfecting cultivation of giant timber bamboo species, notably Dendrocalamus asper (Betung Bamboo) and Gigantochloa levis (Poring Bamboo). These bamboo varieties possess exceptional strength, durability and rapid growth rates making them suitable for use in construction.

The Sabah media says the widespread use of bamboo in the construction industry has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions associated with resource intensive materials while simultaneously contributing to the preservation of forests.


Through the eyes of industry
The latest GTI report lists the challenges identified by the private sector in Malaysia.



 EU and domestic regulations could weaken furniture exports
The combined impact of the EUDR and the Indonesian government's legality verification system (SVLK) could potentially hurt the domestic furniture industry and erode Indonesia's furniture export competitiveness according to Abdul Sobur, chairman of the Indonesian Furniture and Handicraft Industry Association (Himki).

When the EUDR is implemented this will add to production and delivery costs and if prices do not rise then eventually the regulations will weaken Indonesia's competitiveness, Abdul said. He added, unnecessary costs must be eliminated as restrictive regulations could hamper the target to achieve US$5 billion in furniture exports.



In related news, the Director General of Agro-Industry at the Ministry of Industry (Kemenperin), Putu Juli Ardika, denied that the EUDR will negatively impact exports of products from Indonesia as, according to him, “the majority of exporters already have certificates meeting EU standards ensuring the manufacturing process for exported products does not damage the forest.


Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, has said that Indonesia has 18 months remaining to act before the implementation of the EUDR adding that the regulation would label products as originating from high-risk, standard or low-risk countries.

He said Indonesian commodities potentially impacted by the EUDR include palm oil and derivatives, coffee, soya, cocoa, beef and wood products.

Deforestation rate in 2022, a steady decline
The Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya, reported Indonesia's deforestation rate in recent years to the House of Representatives. According to the Minister, Indonesia's deforestation rate continues to decline year by year. She revealed that in 2015 Indonesia's deforestation rate was recorded at 1.09 million hectares but it had fallen to 460,000 hectares in 2019.

The rate of deforestation fell again in 2021 to 110,000 hectares. The Minister revealed that in 2022 deforestation extended over 107,000 hectares. She explained that, to monitor deforestation, the Directorate General of Forestry Planning and Environmental Management has developed a National Forestry Monitoring System (Simontana) that records the condition of Indonesia's forests.


Social forestry creating economic growth in villages
The Minister of Environment and Forestry has said that the concept of social forestry, which gives communities the right to manage forests in a sustainable manner, can create economic growth in villages. Communities can secure social forestry management rights through five schemes: village forest management schemes, community forestry, community plantation forestry, customary forest and partnership schemes.

The Minister said that social forestry has also expanded to the downstream sector so that communities can now develop into productive communities.


Seek export opportunities from US-China trade dispute
Indonesia must optimise opportunities arising from the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China according to the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto. He said that Indonesia has become a member of the first regional cooperation group to focus on supply chain issues namely the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

The other IPEF members include Brunei, Fiji, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the Philippines and the United States.

IPEF member countries have committed to realising economic cooperation involving the private sector as well as implementing technical assistance and capacity-building programmes.


Through the eyes of industry
The latest GTI report lists the challenges identified by the private sector in Indonesia.



  Indications of decline in timber exports
For the first quarter of 2023-24 timber export earnings have been reported at US$17.3 million which is about half of the value in the same period of 2022-23 (US$34.5 million) according to to lcal media, Eleven News.

In the last financial year timber exports were in fifth position in export rank at US$140 million after manufactured products (including garments) and agricultural, mineral and maritime products. Wood product exporters say order levels have fallen as many previous buyers of Myanmar wood products have withdrawn their business.

Foreign investment declines sharply
Foreign investment in Myanmar fell 60% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter in 2022 according to figures from the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

In the first quarter the Myanmar Investment Commission approved US$178 million in foreign investment, down from US$402 million in the same period last year, which was down 50% from the first quarter 2021.

In FY2022-23, the first full fiscal year during which the current government had control of the economy, Myanmar received only US$1.6 billion of foreign investment with Singapore being the biggest investor. China and Thailand were the second and third largest investors.

The reasons for the decline in FDI are said to be political instability, management of the financial sector as well as infrastructure issues especially power supplies.

The World Bank said in its Myanmar Economic Monitor that even though there were signs of a pick-up in domestic investment in the second half of 2022 foreign investment remains weak and GDP for this year, while expanding a modest 3%, would be 13% lower than it was in 2019.


Micro finance lender withdrawing from Myanmar
Myanmar’s largest micro lender, Pact Global Microfinance Fund (PGMF), is closing its operations in Myanmar saying demands by the government had made it impossible to continue its efforts to serve low-income households, including those with no access to the formal banking system.

PGMF is the microfinance unit of PACT, an international nongovernmental organisation. PGMF said new regulations, as well the demands of the regime to hand over its assets, made it impossible to continue operating in Myanmar.

PGMF announced its closure after forgiving more than US$156 million in outstanding loans to 890,000 borrowers and setting aside money to repay investors. The fund has been providing micro loans, primarily to women in rural areas for more than 25 years.



 Innovation and worker productivity key to growth
Goldman Sachs Research has produced long-term forecasts for India’s economy saying the country has made stunning progress in innovation and technology and while the country has demographics to drive growth that will not be the only driver.

According to Goldman Sachs “innovation and increasing worker productivity are going to be important for the world’s fifth-biggest economy. In technical terms, that means greater output for each unit of labour and capital in India’s economy”.



India poised to sustain growth
The annual Economic Review for 2022-23, released by the Finance Ministry points out the country’s impressive growth experienced in 2022-23 when most of the world economy was experiencing inflation and restrained by monetary tightening.

The report says “Strong balance sheets and digital advancements could lead to better credit decisions allowing India’s financial cycle to sustain for longer periods before encountering the challenge of bad debts. Thus, India appears poised to sustain its growth in a more durable way than before.”

The Review said that inflation emerged as the major challenge in 2022-23 for India as it did for the rest of the world following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the impact of climate change.



Indian furniture market drivers – two new reports
Two recent reports address furniture market trends in India. The IMARC report suggests the construction industry and development of smart city projects represent one factor influencing the furniture market. Also, the integration of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things, 3D printing, virtual reality and augmented reality in furniture manufacturing could transform production.

Rising standards of living and the associated demand for quality furniture will be another major factor along with expansion of the e-commerce sector.


A media release from Mordor Intelligence on its report “Furniture industry in India, size, share analysis - growth trends and forecasts (2023 - 2028)” says the India furniture market size in 2023 is estimated at US$15.79 billion and is expected to reach US$26.85 billion by 2028.

Mordor points out that the Indian furniture market has changed, expanding beyond chairs and tables to include designed interiors.

The growing middle-class, rising disposable income and the growing number of urban homes contribute to the expansion of demand for furniture.

Demand for furniture is also driven by the tourism and hospitality industry and the corporate sector. The increasing number of hotels and business offices further spurs demand for furniture in the country.

The pandemic had a serious impacted due to restrictions and lockdowns and the manufacturing index drastically declined in early 2020, however, the furniture industry bounced back in later half of 2020.


Rupee slips against the US dollar
The Indian rupee weakened early July on dollar demand from importers. The rupee was at 82.51 to the US dollar in early July and this has pushed up import costs. The weakness in the rupee was also in response to the US Federal Reserve maintaining a hawkish stance on interest rates. The rupee depreciated to Rs 82.51.


Home building for rural India
The latest United Nations (UN) report on population suggests that India’s urban population will take over the rural population by the end of 2050. However, data on population distribution within the country shows that the majority of Indians still live in rural areas (65%) despite increasing rural-urban migration. It has been suggested that housing design and building technologies suitable must be examined in terms of architecture appropriate in rural areas.


Forest clearing for infrasture development
Over the past five years India diverted over 88,903 hectares of forest land – more than the areas of Mumbai and Kolkata put together – for non-forestry purposes with the highest of 19,424 hectares being for road construction followed by 18,847 hectares for mining, 13,344 hectares for irrigation projects, 9,469 hectares for transmission lines and 7,630 hectares for defence projects, the government has said.

Junior Environment Minister, Ashwini Kumar Choubey said the Centre allowed these diversions for various development works under the provision of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.



 Wood and Wood product (W&WP) trade highlights
In June 2023 W&WP exports reached US$1.2 billion, up 14% compared to May 2023 but down 15% compared to June 2022. WP exports, alone accounted for US$868 million, up 14% compared to May 2023 but down 7% compared to June 2022.

In the first 6 months of 2023 W&WP exports totalled US$6.2 billion, year-on-year down 27%. The export of WPs contributed US$4.2 billion, down 30% over the same period in 2022.

Vietnam's imports of logs and sawnwood in June 2023 amounted to 569,000 cu.m worth US$199.2 million, up 25% in volume and 25% in value compared to May 2023. Compared to June 2022 imports were up 3% in volume but down 12% in value.

In the first 6 months of 2023 imports of logs and sawnwood are estimated at 2,177 million cu.m, worth US$777.6 million, down 25% in volume and 31% in value over the same period in 2022.

Vietnam's exports of NTFPs (rattan, bamboo and other minor NTFPs) in May 2023 reached US$61,835 million, down 1.5% compared to April 2023 and down 12% over the same period in 2022. Over the first 5 months of 2023, Vietnam's NTFP exports totalled US$289.93 million, down 30% over the same period in 2022.

W&WP exports to the US in June 2023 reported at US$628.3 million, down 18% compared to June 2022. In the first 6 months of 2023 W&WP exports to the US are estimated at US$3.3 billion, down 33% over the same period in 2022.

In June 2023 exports of kitchen furniture stood at US$100.5 million, down 23% compared to June 2022. In the first 6 months of 2023 exports of kitchen furniture totalled US$521.6 million, year-on-year down 26%.

Domestic wood harvest and reforestation
In the first 5 months of 2023 the newly planted forest area is estimated at 97,900 ha, up 2.5% over the same period last year whilst the number of newly planted scattered trees reached 41.7 million stems, up 5%. The volume of wood harvested from concentrated commercial plantations is reported at 6.6 million cu.m, up 3.3%.

In this period, 886.7 ha of forests have been destroyed, up 78% over the same period last year. Of this, the area of forests damaged by illegal cutting and clearing accounted for 444.5 ha, down 1.4%, while the area of burnt forests is 422.2 ha, 11.7 times higher year-on-year.

Vietnam’s wood raw material suppliers
In the first 5 months of 2023 the volume of logs and sawnwood imported from major sources such as EU, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Laos, Chile, Brazil, New Zealand dropped against the same period in 2022, whilst imports from other markets, including the US, Malaysia, Angola, Indonesia, Canada, Namibia increased.

Imports from the EU accounted for 15% of total imports reaching 264,700 cu.m, worth US$81.0 million, down 14% in volume and 20% in value over the same period in 2022.

Imports of logs and sawnwood from Cameroon decreased by 2.5% in volume but were up 3% in value over the same period in 2022, reaching 225,500 cu.m, worth US$99.4 million, accounting for 13% of total imports.

Imports from Chinat decreased by 38% in volume and 45% in value over the same period in 2022 reaching 203,000 cu.m, worth US$98.0 million and accounted for 11% of total log and sawnwood imports.

Imports of logs and sawnwood from some suppliers decreased against the same period in 2022 (from Thailand 10%; Laos by 19%; Chile by 30%; Brazil by 54%; New Zealand by 24% and Congo by 32%).

However, imports of logs and sawnwood from the US market increased by 2.4% in volume but down 9% in value over the same period in 2022 reaching 216,300 cu.m, worth US$93.0 million and accounted for 12% of total imports.

Increased imports in the first 5 months of 2023 came from Malaysia (34% up); Angola (15% up); Indonesia (64% up); Canada (6%); Namibia (49%).

Fluctuation of import price
In the first 5 months of 2023 the price of logs and sawnwood imported into Vietnam averaged at US$359.2/cu.m, down 6.7% over the same period in 2022.

In particular, the price of logs and sawnwood from the EU decreased by 6.4% over the same period in 2022, to US$306/cu.m; from the US prices fell 11% to US$430.6/cu.m; from China 11%, to US$482.4/cu.m; Laos 11%, to US$479.6/cu.m.

Looking ahead
Vietnam's exports of wood and wood products in the first 6 months of this year plummeted by 279% over the same period in 2022, with the total export value falling to US$6.2 billion. The reasons behind the worsened situation of Vietnam’s W&WP trade is attributed to the downturn of the global economy, the impacts of inflation and rising interest rate in major markets for wooden furniture from Vietnam.

Trade protection countermeasures (antidumping/subsidy and countervailing investigations and possible duties imposed on W&WP exported from Vietnam) has accelerated the hardship of Vietnamese entrepreneurs.

Due to the shortage of customer orders many Vietnamese wood operators have to reduce production and reduced the workforce.

There are, however, signals of improvement. The growth rate of W&WP export earnings from the US market in June is minus 18% instead of the minus 27% over the first 6 months of 2023. The drop of W&WP exports seems to have reached the bottom and Vietnamese wood businesses are expecting more orders in the second half and into the beginning of next year.

Accelerated market promotion through trade fairs, technology innovation to upgrade business efficiency, improved business governance, building capacity to reduce trade protection risks, better utilisation of FTAs and a radical shift towards green trade and green growth, are seen as key remedies to overcome the current problems associated with global market weakness.

Vietnam’s W&WP exports to the US declining
The US has consistently accounted for around half of Vietnam’s W&WP exports so the decline in US demand has impacted the entire wood sector in Vietnam.

Exports of kitchen furniture plummeting
Although there are signs of recovery in the world economy and that of key markets for made-in-Vietnam kitchen furniture there are still acute problems. However, the kitchen furniture market is expected to recover from the second half of 2023 as stocks in major consuming countries, especially the US, are declining.

Export categories
In the first 5 months of 2023 amongst kitchen furniture categories kitchen cabinets were the main product accounting for US$343.8 million, down 26% over the same period in 2022. Kitchen cabinets from Vietnam are mainly exported to the US (94%) followed by Japan, Canada, UK and Australia.

Kitchen appliances are the second largest categories with exports at US$42 million, down 182% over the same period in 2022. Household appliances used in the kitchen are mainly exported to Japan, USA, Korea and the EU.

In the first 5 months of 2023, along with above-mentioned items, there are a number of kitchen items being exported including kitchen tables (US$24.8 million, down 46% over the same period in 2022); kitchen shelves (US$4.6 million, down 31%). In contrast exports of kitchen chairs surged to US$2.3 million.

Africa the top supplier of padouk
Vietnam's padouk imports from Africa accounted for 85% of total padouk imports in the first 5 months of 2023, up 1.9% in volume over the same period in 2022, reaching 46,900 cu.m. worth US$14.4 million.

According to preliminary statistics, Vietnam's padouk imports in June 2023 reached 9,100 cu.m, worth US$4.0 million, up 0.5% in volume and 2% in value compared to May 2023. Compared to June 2022 imports decreased by 2.5% in volume and 0.3% in value.

Over the first 6 months of 2023, padouk imports amounted to 64,000 cu.m, worth US$24.9 million, down 9.5% in volume and 21% in value over the same period in 2022.

In the first 5 months of 2023 Vietnam imported 49,400 cu.m of padouk sawnwood worth US$19.0 million, down 0.3% in volume and 18% in value over the same period in 2022. Import volumes of padouk logs stood at 5,600 cu.m, worth US$2.0 million, down 53% in volume and 55% in value over the same period in 2022.

Price fluctuations
Statistics show that the average import price of padouk wood in the first 5 months of 2023 stood at US$381./cu.m, down 15.1% over the same period in 2022.

The import price of padouk wood from Africa dropped by 2% over the same period in 2022 down to US$306/cu.m; from Laos down 7% to US$1.074.5/cu.m; from Thailand down 18% to US$460.2/cu.m; from Papua New Guinea down 0.4% to US$330.0/cu.m and from China down 27% to US$280.0/cu.m.


 New tools to track forest products
Deforestation in the Amazon reached 11,500 sq. km representing the highest deforestation rate in 15 years despite several initiatives to combat this including the development of tracking systems.

The new version of the Document of Forest Origin (DOF – Documento de Origem Florestal) system, called "DOF+ Traceability," requires the issuance of mandatory permits for the transport of forest products as well as the registration of the industrial processing units.

The key objective is to enable traceability of wood products throughout the production chain up to commercialisation and consumption to curb fraud and ensure the legality. “DOF+ Traceability” is an auditable system that allows users, research institutions and inspection/auditing agencies access to information regarding the origin of timber.

Other technologies such as stable isotope analysis, near-infrared spectroscopy and genomic identification are being developed to help in tracing the origin of timber and products and ensure their legality.

Despite these efforts there are challenges in establishing a comprehensive traceability system as document fraud can still occur and the sequential numbering on logs can be counterfeited.

Additionally, it is necessary to address the sophisticated practices of illegal loggers such as inflating timber credits and manipulating conversion coefficients at sawmills. Therefore, it is crucial to combine different tools and methodologies to ensure process transparency and improving traceability procedures.

It is also important to invest in public policies that encourage the commercial plantations of native timber species to reduce dependence on extractivism and preserve the remaining forests.


AI for forest management in the Amazon
Researchers in the Amazon region are utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) to facilitate ecological and forest management studies. These new automated tools have been used to estimate forest biomass, carbon and commercial timber volumes in tropical forests.

AI has proven to be effective in replacing repetitive and labour-intensive tasks. The geo-referencing of areas in the Amazon is an example of a successful application of AI which assists in arduous tasks. The use of these technologies has also contributed to mapping the diversity and distribution large trees providing crucial information for the conservation and sustainable management of forest resources as well as helping in combating illegal deforestation.

A researcher of the State University of Amapá has examined the use of AI for ecological and forest management research in the Amazon. Using advanced techniques such as Random Forest Machine Learning they have developed models capable of mapping the diversity and density of large trees in the Amazon biome. They also utilise AI algorithms to estimate forest biomass, carbon and commercial timber volumes in tropical forests. These data are essential to understand the dynamics of forest ecosystems and contribute to conservation strategies and sustainable forest management.

One application is the use of AI in scenarios of climate change in the Amazon. To predict the potential distribution of large trees or rare species and their habitat according to IPPC global climate models researcher investigated how tropical forests may be affected and how adaptive resources management could be applied. This information is crucial for the development of conservation strategies and mitigation of negative environmental impacts.


Fluctuations in furniture exports
Brazilian exports of furniture and mattresses fell by 15% in April 2023 compared to the previous month and were worth US$59.0 million according to IEMI Market Intelligence.

Despite the decline the performance in April is still better than in January and February, indicating a relative improvement in exports in recent months. However, the positive results in March and April were not sufficient to reverse the sector's year to date decline.

In the first four months of 2023 furniture exports amounted to just over US$261 million, compared to US$302 million in the same period of 2022.

Exports to the United States continue to stand out accounting for 33% of total exports in April 2023 followed by Uruguay and Chile with 9.5% and 6.9% respectively. The Brazilian Furniture Industry Association (ABIMÓVEL) highlights the technical differentials of Brazilian furniture including the quality of wood and other natural raw materials in addition to sustainability concern and the design integrated into the national industry.

ABIMÓVEL also mentions the opportunities found in Europe with countries such as the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands being among the main destinations for Brazilian exports.

The furniture sector is optimistic for the first half of 2023, driven by external demand and the ability to offer competitive products but stresses the importance of trade agreements, export incentive policies and customs debureaucratisation to sustain the pace of exports.


Through the eyes of industry
The latest GTI report lists the challenges identified by the private sector in Brazil.



 ADEX proposes forest seed bank
Enrique Toledo, the Vice Pesident of the Association of Exporters (ADEX) Timber Committee proposed the National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA) operate a forest seed bank for use in the reforestation of degraded Amazonian land. Toledo suggested development of a seed bank must be complemented with genetic research so that good ecological restoration will be guaranteed.

Over the past 60 years around 10 million hectares of forests have been lost due to migratory agriculture, cattle ranching, illegal coca cultivation and illegal mining. Over time much of the land was abandoned due to a loss of fertility causing ecological damage.

Private companies have reforested 40,000 hectares of the Peruvian jungle according to ADEX.

The reforestation of 1 million hectares (land deforested and degraded by migratory cultivation) could generate earnings of around US$1.5 billion from wood product manufacturing according to ADEX. In addition, such an effort would create around 400,000 direct and indirect jobs in forestry, forest harvesting, timber industries and service sectors.

SERFOR and ADEX favor traceability
Officials and specialists from the National Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) together with members of the Timber and Timber Industries Committee of the Exporters Association (ADEX) exchanged experiences on the processes of marketing, transformation, transportation, registration of information and issuance of guides for forest transport and use of wood.

SEFOR announced progress in developing and operating the information system related to the issuance of forest transport guides through the forest transport guides (ER-GTF), a digital tool that is part of the Module of Control of the National Forestry and Wildlife System (MC-SNIFFS).

The processes for issuing export permits for species included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the procedure for control and visual inspection of timber products at posts were explained.

The main exporting companies of the timber industry together with the representatives of ADEX expressed their optimism regarding the progress made by SERFOR and the joint effort to strengthen the processes of the timber export procedure included in CITES.

Approval of domestic panel products for school furniture
Wood product manufacturers in Ucayali have been informed that 16 wood based panel products have been approved for wooden school furniture production as they comply with the quality standards and will now be adopted in public tenders.

Representatives of the Regional Chamber of the Second Transformation of Ucayali Wood (CRESETMU) and the Industrial Chamber of the Second Transformation of Ucayali Wood (CISETMU) recorded their satisfaction with this ruling. They offered suggestions on new school furniture designs which will further encourage local businesses.

First regional forest control roundtable in Ucayali
The Regional Governor of Ucayali, Manuel Gambini, was present at the first meeting of the Regional Roundtable for Control and Surveillance of Forestry and Wildlife and highlighted the work that has been carried out against illegality and mentioned that it is necessary to sensitise communities on this issue.

Reports on the loss of forest cover in the present year were presented at the Regional Roundtable and its relationship with the National Forest and Wildlife Control and Surveillance System (SNCVFFS) was explained.




Source:ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report