Get Your Quotation

  Home:  Global Wood   Industry News & Markets

Japan Wood Products Price and Market Reports 
01 – 15th Jul

Japan Wood Products Prices
Dollar Exchange Rates of 
10th  Jul 2023
Japan Yen

Reports From Japan

  Business sentiment improved for the first time in seven quarters
Japanese business sentiment improved in the second quarter as raw material costs stopped rising and increased consumer consumption, as pandemic curbs were removed, drove up factory output. The Bank of Japan's latest Tankan survey shows business sentiment among large manufacturers has improved for the first time in seven quarters.

The survey suggested companies expect to increase capital expenditure and consider inflation will stay above the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) 2% target for the next five years. This could fuel sentiment that conditions for phasing out the BoJ massive monetary easing policy may be emerging especially if the momentum of wage increases can be maintained.



In related news, a report from Rengo the umbrella trade union group, confirmed that wage growth was more widespread than many had thought. Wages observed within Rengo affiliated groups across Japan rose by an average of 3.5% at the beginning of the year. More importantly, signs of broader wage pressures have been observed in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which saw their wage bill rise 3.2%.


Sentiment among large manufacturers improved for the first time in seven quarters in the second quarter of this year according to the BoJ. The latest results exceeded the median forecast. Capital spending by large companies in fiscal 2023 is forecast to grow 13%.

Source: Cabinet Office, Japan

Manufacturing output rising
Industrial production in Japan declined in May but the economic outlook remains positive, however, cost push inflation and tightening labour conditions are driving up prices across the board. Manufacturing output declined 1.6% month-on-month in May but year on year there was an improvement in the first five months of 2023. The outlook forecast for manufacturing activity in June anticipates a rise.


Corporate bankruptcies rise
Corporate bankruptcies rose in Japan in the first half of this year as some businesses struggled to repay corona relief loans. The number of firms failing in the first half of this year exceeded 4,000 for the first time in five years.

Retail bankruptcies totalled 834, up 46% with restaurants especially hard hit. Researchers forecast bankruptcies could increase in July as businesses face the triple threat of loan repayments, rising prices and a labour shortage.


Purchases of durable goods delines
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs household spending in Japan fell in May for the third month in a row, dropping 4% year on year. Purchases of household durable goods such as furniture fell 13%, expenditure on communications declined 9% and spending on supplementary education such as cram-school tuition dropped by 15%.

In contrast, consumers spent more on rail tickets, air fares travel and hotels a reaction to he lifting of coronavirus restrictions.


Supply-side inflation tough to tackle
Years of stubborn deflation has meant that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has defensive policies including ultra-loose monetary policy aimed at breaking deflation and achieving sustainable and demand-led growth. Now it is a case of ‘be careful of what you wish for’ as current inflationary trends in Japan are not home grown but supply-side driven, the result of the Covid pandemic and energy crisis brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.



Coronavirus cases continue to rise nationwide
Health officials report coronavirus cases continue to rise nationwide and that the situation in Okinawa is alarming. The latest average number of Covid patients per medical institution was 7.24 in the first week of July some 18% higher than in the previous week and the 13th consecutive week of increase.

The head of Tokyo Center for Infectious Disease Control and Prevention warned that medical institutions in Tokyo could be overwhelmed if current infections, mainly seen among young people, spread to the elderly.


Are we heading towards a currency intervention?
Over the past months the yen has dipped to very low levels against the US dollar which has prompted Japan’s Finance Minister to communicate with his US counterparts.

The Japanese government and the BoJ say they will act on exchange rates if the yen depreciates too far and at a rapid rate. Currency traders were on high alert when it appearsed the yen was heading to the 150 to the US dollar, the level at which prompted intervention in the currency market last year.


Use of timber mandatory for low-rise institutional buildings
The Japanese government is promoting the use of timber in the construction sector. The Building Standards Act was revised in 2000 so that any building could be built with wood if it fulfills a certain level of performance. Then came the Act ‘Promotion of the Utilisation of Wood in Public Building’ which made the use of timber mandatory for low-rise institutional buildings.

Increased use of timber in buildings represents several challenges including fire and seismic safety and durability issues but a combination of technological developments, design and adapted construction systems wooden buildings have a lot to offer.


Import update

Assembled wooden flooring imports
Despite a slight recovery in the value of Japan’s imports of assembled wooden flooring (HS441871-79) in May compared to a month earlier, however, when compared to May 2022 the value of imports was down around 40%.

As in previous months the main shippers of assembled flooring in May were China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. HS441875 comprised the bulk of Japan’s May imports at around 85% of all categories of assembled flooring of which most as from China.

Plywood imports
The downward trend in the volume of Japan’s plywood imports which began in mid-2022 extended into May.

Year on year May 2023 plywood arrivals were over 40% down and the slight up-tick in import volumes in May compared to a month earlier did little to reverse the long-term decline in import volumes.

Falling shipments of plywood from the top suppliers, Malaysia and Indonesia, explain the overall downward trend. Shipments from the other two main suppliers China and Vietnam remained fairly constant until recently when there was a sharp drop in plywood imports from China.

Demand for plywood in the domestic market in China has weakened because of problems in the housing market but this, it appears, has not driven Chinese plywood manufacturers to begin lowering prices to gain market share in Japan.

Trade news from the Japan Lumber Reports (JLR)
The Japan Lumber Reports (JLR), a subscription trade journal published every two weeks in English, is generously allowing the ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report to reproduce news on the Japanese market precisely as it appears in the JLR.

For the JLR report please see:

Ta Ann Group to continue harvesting certified forests
Ta Ann Group is a big company, which manages forest and produces lumber, plywood and oil palm in Sarawak province in Malaysia. Ta Ann Group has three forests, which are Kapit, Pasin and Raplex, and has certifications of PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) on all three forests. Total of three forest areas are 346,000 hectares. The Sarawak Government authorized Ta Ann to grow 320,000 cbms of logs annually in those three forests for the next 30 years.

The company produces 9,000 cbms plywood in a month. 8,000 cbms of 9,000 cbms are for painted plywood for concrete form and rest of 9,000 cbms are for structural plywood and other plywood.

The president of the company says, ‘it is a good and important opportunity for us to get certifications of PEFC for the next 30 years. We are able to supply PEFC plywood to Japan stably.

Exporting logs from Kesennuma port
Cedar logs were exported to China from Kesennuma port in Miyagi Prefecture for the first time on 21st and 22 nd June.

Since there were many cedar logs due to low demand in Japan, Miyagi Prefecture, Federation of Forest Owners Cooperative Association decided to export cedar logs because there were concerns about beetles on cedar logs and deterioration of cedar logs.

A vessel owned by a Chinese company is 5,278 tons. 4 m length and over 18 cm thickness of cedar logs were exported to China. Volume was about 3,200 cbms.

Cedar logs will be exported China again on 20th, July. Miyagi Prefecture Federation of Forest Owners Cooperative Association will decide to continue exporting cedar logs to China or not after this export.

The price of domestic softwood plywood almost reached the bottom in the middle of June. 12mm 3 x 6 structural plywood in June was 1,650 yen, delivered per sheet and it was 50 yen, delivered per sheet, down from May. Structural plywood for precutting plants was 1,600 yen, delivered per sheet. The price of domestic softwood plywood decreased slightly in June from May and the price stopped decreasing in June. Also, the precutting plants stopped demanding a reduction in price.

Plywood companies in Eastern Japan have been reducing production since last autumn and inventory at several companies is now less than before. Then, the plywood companies announced to stop lowering the price of domestic softwood plywood as of June. Some reasons are to make the price of domestic softwood plywood to be stable and the price of electricity, production and personnel increased.

Volume of South Sea plywood has been low and several kinds of structural plywood are in short supply. 12mm painted plywood for concrete form costs 1,920 – 1,950 yen, delivered per sheet and this is 50 yen lower than the previous month. Form plywood costs 1,800 yen, delivered per sheet and this is 100 yen lower than last month. Structural plywood costs 1,800 yen, delivered per sheet and this is unchanged price from last month. 2.5 mm thickness plywood costs 780 yen, delivered per sheet. 4.5 mm thickness plywood is 950 yen and 5.5 mm thickness plywood are 1,150 yen, delivered per sheet.

The price of plywood in South Asia reached the bottom price. 2.4 mm 3 x 6 is US$950, C&F per cbm. 3.7 mm is around US$880, C&F per cbm. 5.2 mm is US$850, C&F per cbm. 12 mm 3 x 6 painted plywood for concrete form is US$650, C&F per cbm. Form plywood is US$560, C&F per cbm. Structural plywood is about US$550, C&F per cbm.

A law of JAS for wood pellet
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries established a law of JAS for wood pellet. Japan Wood Pellet Association’s standards have been used for approving the wood pellet. However, there is a possibility that consumers would apply to only JAS certification in the future.

The new law of JAS for wood pellet is about ways of testing wood pellets’ quality to use for houses or business use.

The price of cedar log plunged
Demand and supply of cedar logs are unbalanced in Northern part of Kanto area. The price of 3m cedar log plunged to around 10,000 yen, delivered per cbm.

Log companies start to control product but it is difficult to stop producing logs because there is a budget for the fiscal year 2023 -2024 and there are employees to pay salary.

There are many cedar logs left at log companies in Northern part of Kanto because the new starts are decreasing. Then, several laminated lumber plants and plywood plants have been reducing in a purchase of logs since spring.

The price of cedar log in February, 2023 was around 18,000 yen and the price started to fall in March, 2023. One of the reasons for the price falling is that log companies lowered the log price because there were beetles on cedar logs and logs were damaged in April. This was the beginning of the price falling.

One of forest associations says that if the cedar log with B quality became under 10,000 yen, the product cost would be no profits. The forest association had been tried to keep the price of cedar log but in April, the price of cedar log with A quality was 11,000 yen, with B quality was around 8,000 yen and with C quality was 6,000 yen. Many log companies started reducing product.

Only the price of KD cedar log for post plunged widely because the price of laminated cedar post or laminated whitewood post was also falling. Major lumber plants started producing cedar post by 3m cedar logs so the price of 3m cedar log plunged. The price of 4m cedar log was 14,000 – 15,000 yen in May and the price decreased 11,000 – 13,000 yen in June. The price of 4m cypress log was around 17,000 yen.


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