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.



16-30 November 2008

Top story

Putin postpones 80% log export duty by 9-12 months

According to the Associated Press, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has agreed to postpone implementation of the Russian export duty of 80% on roundwood logs. The announcement, which was made during a meeting with Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, indicated that the rise in duty would be postponed for a nine to 12 month period. The heightened duty was expected to jump from 25% to 80% at the start of January 2009, but will remain set at 25% until further information is released. Japan Lumber Reports has noted that even though the duty will be maintained at 25%, it is still high enough to induce a shift in the Japanese plywood and lumber industry to new sources of raw materials or shut down since costs are still too high and prices are not expected to drop in the near future.

UK market closes early for Christmas

In the UK, the weakness of sterling combined with particularly gloomy economic data has meant that forward buying has been particularly weak. One UK based agent involved in the trade for 40 years comments ‘I have seen four recessions during this period, in the early 70s, 80s, 90s and now this one. But I’ve never known a change as rapid as this... Now the UK hardwood trade, at least with respect to forward sales, has essentially shut down for Christmas, the earliest shutdown I have ever known’. UK Importers are still carrying heavy stocks in standard commercial items. One large importer is reported to be off-loading sapele and white oak – the two most popular hardwood species in the UK — at well below replacement cost in order to generate cash flow. Other importers have generally not joined in the fire sale, but under such circumstances, there is very little interest in forward buying.

Also in this issue

  • West African trade sluggish as European market quietens
  • WITC develops sawdust powered smoke dryer
  • SFC focuses on plantation timber projects
  • Significant layoffs affect Indonesia’s pulp and paper sector
  • MTE slashes quantity of logs for sale
  • Timber companies in Brazil face delays in securing transport permits
  • Brazil’s solidwood exports face worsening prospects
  • Regional authorities urge Congress to reject Peru’s new forest law
  • Guyana’s timber products exports show rising trend for logs
  • Japan’s proposed Forestry Plan to reduce carbon emissions

Data snapshot

Exchange rates index (Dec 2003=100)


As of September 2008, the dollar has been strengthening against the Euro, UK sterling and Brazilian real. This has worried some traders, particularly in producing countries, as the rising costs of imported materials and exchange rate loss have negatively impacted some in the wood products sector. On the other hand, many more offers from the South Sea region were being made to Japan, since the Yen was strengthening against the dollar.

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