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New Zealand retains badge as largest log supplier to China

According to China Customs, log imports in the first half of 2021 totalled 31.26 million cubic metres valued at US$5.265 billion (CIF), up 29% in volume and 48% in value. The average price for imported logs was US$167 (CIF) per cubic metre, up 15% from the same period of 2020. Of total log imports, softwood log imports surged 41% to 24.81 million cubic metres, accounting for 78% of the national total. Source: Tropical Timber Market Report

The average price for imported softwood logs was US$142 (CIF) per cubic metre, up 24% from the same period of 2020.

According to local experts, the main reason for the increase in the volume of softwood logs imports was that a large quantity was imported from European countries in the first half of 2021. It has been estimated that about 500 million cubic metres of damaged European spruce will have to be harvested up to 2024 and much of this will be imported by China via the China-Europe Railway Express.

The volume of log imports from most countries soared in the first half of 2021 and Germany became the second largest supplier of logs to China. Log imports from Germany rose 95% to 6.43 million cubic metres in the first half of 2021.

China’s log imports from Uruguay and Brazil surged to 1.10 million cubic metres and 0.94 million cubic metres respectively which contributed to the increase in overall log imports.

New Zealand was the top log supplier to China in the first half of 2021 accounting for 32% of total log imports. Log imports from New Zealand totalled 10.02 million cubic metres in the first half of 2021, up 58% from the same period of 2020.Russia ranked third in terms of log exports to China at 3.40 million cubic metres in the first half of 2021, up 3%, and accounting for 11% of total log imports in the first half of 2021.

China’s log imports from Australia plummeted to 628,855 cubic metres in the first half of 2021 from 2.09 million cubic metres in the first half of 2020. China’s log imports from Australia plunged because of a ban on imports as the quarantine service in China once again detected pests in a log shipment. Since the beginning of 2020 the quarantine service has repeatedly detected live pests such as the long horn beetle, Cerambycidae and jewel beetles, Buprestidae in logs imported from Australia.

In accordance with national quarantine laws and regulations the infected logs have been treated and the exporters notified of the non-conformance with international standards and required to investigate the causes and take improvement measures to avoid a recurrence.

China’s hardwood log imports in the first half of 2021 fell 1% to 6.81 million cubic metres (22% of the national total log imports). The average price for imported hardwood logs in the first half of 2021 was US$256 (CIF) per cubic metre, up 14% from the same period of 2020. Of total hardwood log imports, tropical log imports were 3.77 million cubic metres valued at US$9.98 billion CIF, down 8% in volume but up 4% in value from the same period of 2021 and accounted for 12% of the national total log import volume.

The average price for imported tropical logs was US$265 CIF per cubic metre, up 14% from the same period of 2020. Before its log export ban Myanmar was a major source of tropical logs for China. However, China’s log imports from Myanmar have been declining for many years. This trend reversed in the first half of 2021when China’s log imports from Myanmar soared 391% to 6,410 cubic metres in volume and were valued at US$8.1 million. The average price for imported logs from Myanmar rose 14% to US$1,264 (CIF) per cubic metre in the first half of 2021.

China imported tropical logs mainly from Papua New Guinea (27%), Solomon Islands (25%), Brazil (13%), Republic of Congo (7%) and Cameroon (6%). Just 10 countries supplied 91% (3.442 million cubic metres) of China’s tropical log requirements in the first half of 2021.

China’s tropical log imports from the first and second largest suppliers, PNG and Solomon Is., fell 26% and 6% to 1.037 million and 958, 000 cubic metres respectively.

It was this decline that drove down total tropical log imports in the first half of 2021. In the meantime, China’s tropical log imports from Equatorial Guinea and Suriname dropped 55% and 45% to 88,000 cubic metres and 69,000 cubic metres respectively. Similarly, China’s tropical log imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Brazil and Sierra Leone declined.