Log Imports to China from New Zealand and U.S. Gain Steam in 2nd Half 2012
Log imports to China were off to a slow start in 2012 but in the second half of the year,
shipments picked up with New Zealand and the US gaining the biggest market shares,
reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. The Chinese domestic log market also heated up,
with log prices reaching record high levels.
Shipments of softwood logs from New Zealand and the US were up 29 percent and 20 percent,
respectively, while Russian exports to China fell nine percent in the second half of 2012 as compared
to the the first half of 2012.
Feb. 4, 2013 (Press Release) - Demand for imported softwood logs in China increased in the second half
of 2012 after declining during the first six months of the year. Total imports in the 2H/12
were up nine percent, but the increase was not equally distributed between supplying
countries. Shipments from New Zealand and the US were up 29 percent and 20 percent,
respectively, while Russian exports to China fell nine percent in the 2H/12 as compared
to the 1H/12, reports in the Wood Resource Quarterly (www.woodprices.com).
Log imports for the full year were down 15 percent from 2011, which was the first yearover-
year decline since 2008. From 2008 to 2011, China’s imports increased by as much
as 70 percent to a record 30 million m3 in 2011. Despite the decline in 2012, the total
import volume was still the second highest on record. And for the month of December,
there have never been more logs unloaded in Chinese ports than in the December of
The most dramatic shift in log supply sources for China over the past few years has been
the diminished exports from Russia and the sharp increase in log volumes entering from
New Zealand. Just five years ago, China imported as much as 21 million m3 of softwood
logs from Russia and only 1.2 million m3 from New Zealand. In the second half of 2012,
the two countries shipped about 4.8 million m3 each.
The average import value of New Zealand Radiata pine in the 4Q/12 was up a few dollars
from the previous quarter, reaching the highest level seen since 3Q/11, while the average
value for most other species remained unchanged in the last quarter of 2012.
Domestic log prices in China on the other hand, continued their upward trend with
Chinese fir log prices being up 13 percent from 4Q/11 to 4Q/12 to reach an all-time high,
according to the WRQ. Prices for other commonly used species such as Mongolian pine,
larch, poplar and birch were also at record high levels during the 4Q/12.
SOURCE: Wood Resources International LLC