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 April 2008

Top story

Prices surge across the board for Malaysian timber products

Prices of Malaysian timber product continue to rise amid soft commodity prices. Rubber latex, the raw material for rubber gloves, has undergone price hikes once every two to three weeks. This has driven up the cost of rubberwood on almost a weekly basis for furniture manufacturers.

Malaysia is the world’s leading exporter of natural rubber gloves, particularly for medical purposes. The demand for raw latex is not expected to ease for the rest of the year, and this could create a critical shortage of rubberwood for Malaysian furniture manufacturers.

In addition, prices of palm oil continue to rise on speculation that soya bean farmers in Argentina may refuse to participate in the new planting season, increasing the stakes for Malaysia in the biodiesel market. Fibers from the oil palm trees are one of the main sources of raw material for panel products, including MDF and plywood.

Prices of Malaysian timber products are further driven up by reports of strikes by port workers in Indonesia. The fear of worsening haze conditions due to increased fire risk from La Niña towards the third quarter of this year is another major contributory factor to the appreciating prices. The climatic conditions could also cause a serious drop in the yield of rubber latex and palm oil.

Also in this issue

  • Port strikes stall movement of Indonesian prices
  • IBAMA tightens control on illegal logging in the Amazon
  • Brazil’s exports jump 14% February 2008
  • INRENA announces plans to revise yield rates
  • Guyana’s furniture exports leap 30% in March 2008
  • Imported plywood volume to Japan plunges 30% in February
  • Solidwood flooring shows strong growth in Guangdong
  • EU statistical analysis shows weak demand for tropical timber in 2007
  • EU deliberates on illegal wood legislation
  • EC reacts to Russian export duty hikes
  • EU tightens sanctions on Myanmar timber

Data snapshot


EU-25 imports of hardwood-faced plywood (both temperate and tropical hardwood) during 2007 reached 2,773,100 m³, up 8% on the previous year.

Leading EU importing countries of hardwood plywood in 2007 were the UK (756,800 m³), Germany (449,000 m³), Belgium (281,700 m³), Italy (227,900 m³), and the Netherlands (191,200 m³).

Imports of hardwood plywood fell slightly to the UK (down 4%) and the Netherlands (down 3%) during 2007. However, this was offset by a significant increase in imports by Germany (up 24%) and Italy (up 13%), and a moderate increase in imports by Belgium (up 2%). Leading countries supplying hardwood plywood to the EU during 2007 were China (1,092,000 m³), Russia (754,200 m³), Brazil (247,700 m³), Malaysia (237,300 m³), and Indonesia (139,500 m³).

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