Demand for wood chips from China is on the increase with Vietnam, Chile, Thailand and Uruguay all increasing their shipments but Australia and South Africa have been losing market share. Australia and South Africa ship to Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea.
The export of hardwood chips from Australia has dropped eight per cent in the second half last year compared with the first half making it the slowest year for these exports for more than 10 years. Japan was a major importer of the Australian product but has severely reduced its import numbers.
On a brighter note, Australian chip shipments to China did rise last year reaching a record high of almost 700,000 ton – three times the amount five years ago. This is expected to continue as China has limited domestic resources.
However, the value of chips to China is less than that going to Japan.
For almost 20 years Australia has been the leading supplier in the world but Vietnam now has that position as the country has increased its exports from 400,000 tons in 2001 to 5.4 million in 2011.