Market Information Service

Towards greater transparency in the tropical timber markets

The ITTO Tropical Timber Market (TTM) Report, an output of the ITTO Market Information Service (MIS), is published in English every two weeks with the aim of improving transparency in the international tropical timber market. The TTM provides market trends and trade news from around the world, as well as indicative prices for over 400 tropical timber and added-value products.



1-15 August 2009

Top story

European Market slows during summer holidays

Recent reports suggest little change in overall market sentiment in Europe. If anything, demand for both tropical logs and lumber has slowed further with the onset of the summer vacation period, following the substantial fall in consumption across all major European markets beginning early 2008. Lack of credit insurance for many key customers of the importing sector remains a significant problem. Although many importers will still supply customers lacking such insurance, the situation has considerably increased the financial risks associated with transactions and further deepened the trend toward smaller orders and just-in-time trading. Customers’ unwillingness to commit to purchases of larger volumes creates day-to-day uncertainty. This further discourages moves by importers to enter the forward market despite emerging signs of shortfalls in landed stocks in certain specifications and long lead times between ordering and arrival in the EU. For example, lead times of 4 to 5 months are now common for new orders from African sawmills. In current conditions of very low consumption and supply, prices for both logs and lumber on offer to European buyers are generally holding steady at relatively low levels.

Also in this issue

  • Ghana’s Ayum sets pace for best timber practices

  • Trade event in Malaysia expected to draw 50,000 visitors 

  • Sengon used as alternative to raw materials from production forests 

  • Indonesian Ministries wrangle over rattan quotas 

  • Active purchasing points to market recovery in Myanmar 

  • India housing sector gets boost from government measures 

  • Brazil offers national forests for auction  

  • Mexico aims to restore degraded land 
  • Local producer in Guyana receives top award

  • China’s trade in major forest products dips in first half of 2009 

  • European plywood prices poised to make gains  

  • Steep decline seen in US tropical timber imports  


Data snapshot

A total of 13.29 million m³ of logs were imported in China in the first half of 2009, valued at about 1.8 billion US dollars, down 19% by volume and 35 % by value from the same period of 2008. However, compared with that in the first quarter, import volume in the second quarter reached 7.69 million m³. Of the total log imports, softwood imports were 9.72 million m³, valued at USD1.036 billion, down 1% and 15% respectively from last year. Imports of hardwood were 3.572 million m³, valued at USD773 million, down 45% and 51% respectively. Compared with the first quarter, hardwood imports in the second quarter rose 7% by volume and 14% by value. Among the imports of hardwood, tropical log imports amounted to 2.71 million m³, down 35% from last year.



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