While China and India were buying at reasonable levels, log trade elsewhere was very slow and demand was low. Prices were reported as stable, although beyond the restricted number of species for China and India, there were too few buyers in the market on which to base normal market prices. Some business in non-premium species was being conducted with Vietnam. Prices for these species were likely to have been keenly negotiated and qualities would have been lower than usual.
The onset of many countries’ global economic problems has yet to fully impact all sectors of the log and lumber industries. However, lower growth forecasts for economies in developed countries is certain to slow manufacturing and sales of furniture, which will impact demand for tropical timber. There has already been a downturn in sales of board products in Europe, due to problems in the building industries and lower demand from furniture manufacturers and exporters.
As with logs, it is likely that sawn lumber prices appear stable only because of low trading volumes, rather than being led by demand in the market. Buying was very slow over the previous fortnight. Sapele prices were still variable and subject to offers. Buying for iroko lumber was weaker due to lower demand.