China Log Imports

China imported record-high volumes of softwood lumber in 2016 and softwood log imports reached their second highest level on record, according to Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ) Tuesday. Despite relatively pessimistic forecasts for wood demand early in 2016, China’s need for imported wood picked up during the summer and autumn with import volumes of both logs and lumber being up about 20 per cent in the 4Q/16 as compared to the 4Q/15.

Importation of logs and lumber (in round- wood equivalents) reached almost 76 million cubic metres in 2016, which was up 17 per cent from 2015, and almost 38 per cent higher than five years ago, said WRQ. Over the past decade, the importation of softwood lumber has grown much faster than that of softwood logs. From 2006 to 2016, lumber imports were up from just over two million cubic metres to over 21 million cubic metres, while log import volumes were up from 20 million cubic metres to 34 million cubic metres during the same period.

China Log Imports

From 2015 to 2016, Russia has increased its shipments of lumber to China by over three million to a total of 11.6 million cubic metres.

Import values for lumber to China rose during most of 2016 with average prices in December 2016 being about six per cent higher than in December 2015. The increases during 2016 came after two years of sharply declining prices.

The lower-cost lumber has consistently been from Russia and Canada, while the cost for lumber from Europe and Chile has been higher than the average prices, which have ranged be- tween US$160-180/m3 in 2016.

Lumber supply from Finland and Sweden still account for only six per cent of the total lumber imports, the share can be expected to increase in the coming years because of more intense marketing of predominantly higher-quality spruce lumber for the Chinese furniture, millwork and construction industries.