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 December 2009

Top story


Irrational plywood market


Housing starts in Japan remain at very low levels but production and imports of plywood have been climbing. This has resulted in market prices for plywood (especially softwood ply) in Japan to drop to record lows says the Japan Lumber Reports. Panic selling by wholesalers, as they try to secure sales and dispose of stock, is driving down prices.

There are fears in the industry that some seriously weakened domestic manufacturers could be put out of business. The ‘highly irrational market’ for softwood plywood is impacting the market for imported hardwood plywood. 

Also in this issue

  • Ban appears certain
  • Trade cautions on volumes for tender
  • Sellers vs. buyers market
  • What now for Myanmar teak
  • Teaknet news
  • Tax break on furniture
  • Plywood mills buying
  • Shifting to combi products
  • Caution in hardwood market
  • US construction trends


Data snapshot

Japan’s 2009 Housing starts and plywood production/imports
Total housing starts in Japan during October were 67,120 units, 27% less than the same month a year earlier. This is the eleventh consecutive month of decline and a record low for the month of October. The JLR is predicting that total year stars would be below 900,000 units.
Because of the weak economic situation in Japan buyers are opting for lower cost units and the average house floor space in October was 21% down on a year ago.


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