Home:  Global Wood p01.gif (127 bytes) Industry News & Markets

China Wood Market Report -
China's timber import market slowly recovering in Q1 2024
[Apr 30, 2024]

According to the latest data released by China's General Administration of Customs, the country's total timber imports exceeded US$3 billion in the first quarter of 2024, a decrease of 3.05% year-on-year, and a 4.2% increase in imports sequentially from the fourth quarter of 2023; the total volume of imports reached 15.56 million cubic metres, a decrease of 1.47% year-on-year, which was lower than the market's expectations.

-  January imports fell by 3.78 per cent to 5.07 million cubic metres and trade value by 5.12 per cent to $999 million;
-  February imports fell by 6.33 per cent to 4.46 million cubic metres, and the value of trade fell by 8.06 per cent to $911 million;
-  In March, imports increased by 4.7 per cent to 6.01 million cubic metres and the value of trade fell by 2.83 per cent to $1.254 billion.

Logs accounted for 56.88%, March arrivals increased greatly

In the first quarter, the total volume of log imports reached 8.85 million cubic metres, accounting for 56.88% of timber imports in the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2023 imports fell by 4.52%; the trade volume reached 1.5 billion yuan, a year-on-year decline of 6.44%. The average unit price of imports was at $170 per cubic metre (* the average unit price of imports does not involve other costs such as freight, the specific price is subject to the market).

It is worth noting that the volume of logs arriving in March increased significantly, up 7.9% vs. the same period in 2023 and up a whopping 36.69% vs. February 2024

Log species that saw growth in imports included eucalyptus, Douglas fir with a minimum cross-sectional dimension of 15cm or less, radiata pine, birch, and oak and isinglass logs. Domestic imports of small-diameter logs have risen alarmingly in recent years compared to large-diameter logs, perhaps because log-producing countries have harvested logs early due to a combination of weather, wildfires, and insect infestations, leading to higher exports.

Sawn timber imports maintain growth trend in Q1

In the first three months of 2024, the country's sawn timber imports increased by 2.87% year-on-year to 6.7 million cubic metres, while trade value increased by 0.24% to US$1.662 billion; the average unit price of imports was at US$247/cubic metre  (*The average unit price of imports does not involve other cost charges, such as freight, and the exact price is subject to the market).

However, of the imports from January to March, only January saw an increase of more than 10 per cent; while February saw a slight drop of 3.69 per cent, and March saw imports at the same level as the same period last year. Means that, although the sawn timber imports in the first quarter showed a growing trend, but the growth trend is not obvious. Expected in the second quarter there will be sawn timber imports power period.

On the import of timber species, including ash, pineapple, spf, sapele and Douglas fir and other furniture timber imports showed growth, especially sapele sawn timber, an increase of more than 120% to 2.29 million cubic metres. However, imports of cherry from North America and beech, oak and sawn timber from Europe declined.

Overall, the country's timber imports in the first quarter of 2024 did not slip too much in total, as the import volume showed positive growth in March and the decline in January-February was lower than the market had expected, but it is still evident that the market recovery is proceeding slowly.