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Japan Wood Products Price and Market Reports 
01 – 15th Jan 2024

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

Reports From Japan

  Magnitude 7.6 quake on New Year's Day
Central Japan continues to be rocked by earthquakes
following the deadly magnitude 7.6 temblor on New
Year's Day.

Rescue operations are ongoing in hard-hit Ishikawa
Prefecture, where officials say over 200 are confirmed
dead. Tens of thousands remain without electricity. It's
feared many are trapped under collapsed houses. Officials
warn that aftershocks of similar intensity may occur this

At a meeting of the prefecture's disaster countermeasures
headquarters, Suzu Mayor said the damage is catastrophic.
Many of the 6,000 homes in the city alone have been
almost or totally destroyed. When reconstruction can
begin there will be an urgent need for all building


Major Japanese companies expected the domestic
economy to grow in 2024

Days before the 1 January devastating quake and tsunami
to hit the Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa Prefecture according to
a Kyodo News survey, more than 70% of major Japanese
companies expected the domestic economy to grow in
2024 as they believed consumer and capital spending will
reduce the negative impact of inflation. The positive view
coincided with the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development's growth projection for
Japan of 1.0 percent in 2024, a slower pace than 1.7
percent estimated for 2023.

Meanwhile, 22% expected zero growth while 3% said
Japan's economy will contract moderately.. This was
despite the economic contraction in July-September
quarter ending two consecutive quarters of growth.

The government has stated wage increases will be
particularly crucial in 2024 as the Bank of Japan, which
has long maintained a monetary easing policy, is watching
spring wage negotiations this year closely to determine
whether it should end its negative interest rate policy.

The disruption of manufacturing and trade as a result of
the latest disaster will cloud the picture of economic
prospects for months.



December consumer confidence up, brace for
downturn in January

Japan's consumer confidence index improved in December
2023 according to Cabinet Office data. The overall
livelihood index was up and the the income growth
indicator rose, the employment index also saw a rise and
the willingness to buy durable goods strengthened. Within
days of the release of the December consumer confidence
indices the country suffered a massive earthquake and
tsunami which are sure to influence the January
confidence data.

Houses destroyed and damaged
The recent Noto Peninsula Earthquake caused severe
property damage, with at least 12,000 houses either
destroyed or severely damaged in 17 municipalities,
according to the Ishikawa Prefectural government. The
earthquake leveled wooden buildings in the Noto
Peninsula and the low earthquake-proofing rate in this
area, exacerbated by its high ratio of elderly residents,
meant it was hit particularly hard.

According to the Suzu Municipal Government, only 51%
of the roughly 6,000 homes in the city at the tip of the
Noto Peninsula met national earthquake resistance
standards. The national average was 87% for the same
period. It is still difficult to ascertain the full extent of the
damage in the severely afflicted cities of Wajima and Suzu
and the number of damaged buildings is likely to increase.

Yen weakens as BoJ unwinding deferred
In the last days of 2023 the Yen drifted lower as traders
unwound expectations that the Bank of Japan will alter
course on its monetary policy. The USD/JPY rate moved
to a two-week high around the 145 as the New Year.

The powerful earthquake that hit Japan on New Year’s
Day makes it harder for the Bank of Japan (BoJ) to abolish
negative interest rates later this month as anticipated.
Speculation about a January change of policy direction by
the BoJ has receded but it is possible the BoJ could shift
away from ultra-loose monetary policy settings in April
after the annual wage negotiations.


October wooden office furniture imports (HS 940330)
In October, shippers in China and Malaysia were, once
again, the top shippers of wooden office furniture
(HS940330) to Japan respectively accounting for 65%
(77% in Sept) and 11% (19%in Sept) of the total value of
imports. Shippers in China, Malaysia along with shippers
in the UK accounted for around 90% of the value of
imports of wooden office furniture in October.

The value of October arrivals from China was down
compared to September as were arrivals from Malaysia.
Year on year, the value of October 2023 imports of
wooden office furniture was down 20% and there was also
a decline in the value of imports compared to the level
reported for September. In October the number of shippers
supplying wooden office furniture to Japan was below that
in September.

October kitchen furniture imports (HS 940340)
As in previous months shippers in the Philippines and
Vietnam together accounted for most of Japan’s imports of
wooden kitchen furniture. In October the top four shippers
were the Philippines (44% of total import value), Vietnam
(37%) and China (8%). In October Germany was the forth
raked shipper in terms of value.

After the slight decline in the total value of imports of
HS940340 in September there was a change of direction
with month on month October 2023 imports rising 11%.
Year on year the value of imports grew 14%.

October wooden bedroom furniture imports (HS
After a good start to 2023 the value of imports of wooden
bedroom furniture began to decline and fell steadily for
most of the second and third quarters of 2023.

The downtrend reversed in September and there was a
further increase in the value of imports in October. With
most trading being conducted in US dollars the impact of
the weak Yen clouds the actual trend direction.

China and Vietnam continue to be the main shippers of
wooden bedroom furniture to Japan, together accounting
for over 90% of the value of imports.

The value of October imports from China was higher
compared to a month earlier whereas the value of imports
from Vietnam was unchanged month on month. Year on
year the value of October imports was little changed.

October wooden furniture parts imports (HS 940391)
From the beginning of the second quarter 2023 the value
of imports of wooden furniture parts HS940391 have
remained steady, rising and dipping but not showing any
discernable trend.

After the July and August declines the value of Japan’s
imports of wooden furniture parts (HS940391) rose 15%
in September, but in October there was a 6% month on
month fall in the value of imports and year on year
October imports were down 17%.

The top suppliers of wooden furniture parts in October
were China (44%), Indonesia (21%), Malaysia (11%) and
Vietnam (12%). The top three shippers saw the value of
arrivals fall, it was only for Vietnam that the Japanese
Ministry of Finance reported a rise in the value of imports.

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:

Volume of imported lumber declines
A forecast of imported lumber in 2023 will be under
9,000,000 cbms, 27.8 % less than 2022. There are five
major kinds of the imported lumber, which are lumber*,
plywood, laminated structural lumber and wooden
boards**. In 1998, when it was deflationary depression,
the imported lumber was 29.4 % less than 1997.
According to Japan Lumber Importers’ Association, the
imported lumber in January to October, 2023 is 7,475,000
cbms, 30.9 % less than the same period last year.

Volume of five major kinds of imported lumber in January
to October 2023, is 4,668,000 cbms, 30.6 % down from
the same period last year. Volume of plywood, laminated
structural lumber and wooden boards is 2,807,000 cbms,
31.5 % down from the same period last year. A forecast
for the volume of imported lumber 2023 will be 8,71,000

Since the influence of the wood shock, the volume of
imported lumber has been 12,000,000 cbms for two years
continuously but the volume in this year decreases nearly
3,000,000 cbms. Volume of European lumber in January
to October, 2023 is 41.6 % down from the same period last
year. North American lumber is 24.2 % down. Russian
lumber is 43.1 % down. Plywood is 28.9 % down.
Laminated structural lumber is 44.4 % down.

It is the first time in 25 years for a huge decrease in
imported lumber. In 1998, demand for houses, which was
active after the bubble economy, had settled down. A
consumption tax was raised to 5 % from 3 % in 1997 and
also the price of health insurance and utility bills were
raised. Therefore, the economy in Japan slid into deflation
due to the low consumer confidence in 1998.

Russia banned exporting logs in 2022 for the first time in
70 years. Additionally, it has been 30 years for the system,
which was launched to supply European lumber to Japan
stably. 2023 will be a milestone year for importing lumber

Number of bankruptcies in 2023
Tokyo Shoko Research, Ltd. classified the results of a
survey about home renovation companies and 82 home
renovation companies went bankrupt during January to
October, 2023. This result is the highest number in
recorded history. The survey started in 2002 and in 2012,
98 home renovation companies went bankrupt.

The number of debts in January to October, 2023 is 5
billion yen. A reason for bankruptcy is sluggish sales, 61
home renovation companies had answered the survey.

71 home renovation companies had under 100 million yen
in debt. 78 home renovation companies had less than 10
employees. Some reasons for bankruptcy are a decrease in
jobs due to the COVID-19, high-priced materials and
housing equipment and a shortage of workers.

Demand and supply of domestic softwood plywood
Shipment of domestic softwood plywood in October, 2023
is 204,000 cbms, 9.8 % more than October, 2022 and this
is 1.4 % more than September, 2023. This is straight two
months for keeping a level of 200,000 cbms.

Production of structural plywood is 202,000 cbms, 2.0 %
more than the same month last year and this is 0.3 % more
than the previous month. The production has been
increasing for eight months continuously. However,
shipment of domestic softwood plywood in October is
2,000 cbms higher than the production so the inventory at
the end of October is decreased slightly.

Radiata pine logs and lumber
The price of radiata pine logs from New Zealand is bullish
to Japan in December, 2023 because the price of radiata
pine logs to China has been rising.

The price of radiata pine logs to China is around $130,
C&F per cbm. The price in October and November, 2023
was $120 – 125, C&F per cbm. The price to Japan would
be higher than the previous time and it was $160 – 165,
C&F per cbm.

The price of NZ lumber in Japan is a level of 60,000 yen,
delivered per cbm and this is stabilized from last month. It
is said that the price of NZ lumber would rise and even
though it is strong yen against the dollar, the import cost
would be higher than the previous time. Chilean thin
boards in Japan are 57,000 – 59,000 yen, FOB per cbm.
Squares are 55,000 – 57,000 yen, FOB per cbm.

Wholesalers in the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan area raised
the price of Chilean lumber by 2,000 yen, FOB per cbm in
November, 2023. However, there is an increase in import
cost so there is not enough profits. Therefore, some
wholesalers plan to raise the price of Chilean lumber again
next year.

Some other wholesalers say that it depends on the foreign
exchange because, now, the yen is rising against the

Radiata pine lumber shipped to Japan in December, 2023
will arrive to Japan in the middle of January, 2024.

South Sea logs and lumber
Movement of hardwood lumber is still dull. The yen
strengthens against the dollar in the middle of November,
2023. The yen was 147 yen against the dollar. Japanese
buyers purchased some kinds of lumber, which are in short
supply. Low demand for houses has been influencing.
Demand for interiors, doors, windows and screens at
stores and facilities are still good.

The lumber market in China is also sluggish. Some
reasons are demand for lumber is low and the purchase
price is high. Since the labor cost and the product cost in
South Asia rose, South Asian sellers are not able to lower
the prices. The price of South Sea logs are high due to the
less inventory and so as the South Sea lumber.


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