Sarawak Log Prices The Malaysian economy, from current indications, is coming out of recession and, going by the pace of recovery, could achieve a growth rate of 2 to 3% for 1999 as opposed to the earlier Government projection of only 1%.
Sarawak Log Export Prices
(FOB) per Cu.m
Meranti SQ up US$145-155
super small US$80-95
Keruing SQ up US$135-140
super small US$70-80
Kapur SQ up US$120-125
Selangan Batu SQ up US$140-150
Indicative Price Forecast
per Cu.m Movement
Kwila US$120-125 no change
Palaquium US$120 mod. rise
Planchonella '' mod. rise
Calophyllum '' mod. rise
Pometia '' mod. rise
Gonostylus mod. rise
Schizomeria '' mod. rise
Canarium US$115 mod. rise
Burckella '' mod. rise
Terminalia '' mod. rise
Dillenia US$115 mod. rise
Celtis US$100 mod. rise
Alstonia '' mod. rise
Dysoxylum '' mod. rise
Eugenia '' mod. rise
Endospermum '' mod. rise
Vitex US$120 mod. rise
Amoora US$90 mod. rise
Campnospermum US$90 mod. rise
Parinari US$85 mod. rise
Marathes '' mod. rise
Mixed white '' mod. rise
Mixed red '' mod. rise
Low Grade Logs US$80 mod. rise
Cameroon Log Prices
FOB per Cu.m
N'Gollon 70cm+ LM-C FFR 1450
Ayous 80cm+LM-C FFR 1000
Sapele 80cm+LM-C FFR 1550
Iroko 70cm+LM-C FFR 1650
Myanmar Average tender prices for Teak logs in the April 99 Tender Sales
Veneer Quality per Hoppus Ton
Sawing Quality per Hoppus Ton
Hoppus ton equivalent to 1.8 Cu.m. Teak 3-4th Grade for sliced veneer. Teak grade 1-4 for sawmilling. SG Grade 3 3ft - 4ft 11" girth, other grades 5ft girth minimum.
per Hoppus Ton
Padauk Assorted US$315
Papua New Guinea
FOB per Cu.m
Amoora, Hopea US$90-95
Celtis, Watergum US$85-90
Mixed Reds/Whites US$80-85
Strengthening Asian Currencies Over the past 12 months currencies in the Asian producer countries have strengthened considerably form the lows at the height of the "crisis". There now seems to be real momentum in strengthening of the currencies and over the past six months some of the wide fluctuations, a feature of the trends in early 1999, are now under control.
Between January-June 1998 the Thai baht strengthened by around 35% against the dollar while the Philippine peso and the Indonesia rupiah posted more modest gains of between 5-10%. The Malaysian ringgit fell to below 4.5 to the dollar in 1998 but was taken out of trade at a fixed rate of 3.8 to the dollar in late 1998. At the present time the ringgit, at 3.8 to the dollar, is considered undervalued against the dollar (in relation to the baht and peso) and an adjustment of the fixed rate of exchange is anticipated before year end.
Between January-June 1999 the Asian currencies have maintained their strengthened positions and, with the exception of the Indonesian rupiah, have traded against the dollar in fairly narrow bands. The Indonesian rupiah, the worst affect during the currency crisis in late 1997 and early 1998, has moved rapidly from a low of Rph 14,750 to the dollar in January 1998 to around 8500 in mid 1999. Currently the rupiah is at a high of 6900 to the dollar, but still well below the 2500 level before the crisis.
In the main Asian consumer countries, Japan Korea and China, the fortunes of the currencies have been mixed. To the relief of suppliers the yuan has been maintained at around 8.27 to the dollar despite periodic rumours of devaluation.
The Korean won has staged a welcome comeback moving from a low of 1750 to a level of 1150-1160 in June 1999. As imports have grown cheaper, Korean buyers are a welcome sight in the market.
In Japan, after erratic swings in the value of the yen between 140 and 120 to the dollar, the currency is being held in a narrower range of between 120-125 and the Japanese central bank has been intervening in the market to buy dollars when the yen has strengthened too much.
The managed stability in the yen has encouraged buyers to risk longer term commitments and there is an encouraging stability in the market as a result.
Domestic Log Prices Report From Brazil
Logs at mill yard per Cu.m
Mahogany Ist Grade US$281
Mescla(white virola) US$32
Domestic log prices per Cu.m
Face Logs US$85-95
Core logs US$70-75
Sawlogs (Merantis') US$85-100
Falkata logs US$70-80
Peninsula Malaysia Statistics recently released by the Central Bank indicated that, for the first quarter of this year, the economy registered a contraction of 1.3%, much smaller than the contraction of the previous year.
If the month of January was excluded from the computation for the first quarter data, the GDP registered a positive value of 1.4 %. It was revealed that the available indicators point to a very strong growth and the Central Bank is confident that the second quarter can expect a strong positive growth.
The Central Bank further revealed that the manufacturing sector contributed about a third of the GDP and therefore emphasis will be given to this sector. The manufacturing sector output, which contracted by 1.1 % during the first quarter , grew by 4.6% in February and March and by 4.5% in April.
The economy of the country is also expected to benefit from the sharp rise in the government spending which is expected to take place in the second half of this year.
Domestic (SQ ex-log yard) per Cu.m
DR Meranti US$155-160
Peeler Core logs US$80-90
Ghana A seven member Timber Rights Evaluation Committee (TREC) of the Forestry Commission (FC) has been inaugurated by the Minister of Lands and Forestry, Dr. Christina Amoako Nuama.
The Committee which is a technical sub-committee of the FC is to evaluate applications for timber rights and to make recommendations to the Commission for the award of such rights to the most suitable applicants.
The Committee will evaluate applications for Timber Utilization Contracts (TUC) in accordance with qualifications and criteria provided by the regulations under the Timber Resources Management Act 1997, Act 547.
Qualified applicants will then be ranked on merit through a competitive process prescribed by regulations under the Act. The Committee is required by law to submit all evaluation reports together with recommendations to the Commission within 42 days of receipt of applications.
Mill gate domestic log prices
White Ofram US$41-57
K. Ivorensis US$82-142
Niangon up to 60cm US$57-74
Report from Peru Domestic Log Prices Pucallpa
Caoba per Cu.m
(Swietenia macrophylla) US$509
(Calycophylum spruceanum) US$50
Catahua (Hura crepitans) US$25
Cedro (Cedrela odorata) US$229
(Miroxilon balsamun) US$70
Huayruro (Ormosia sp) US$64
(Cedrelinga catenaeformis) US$95
International Sawnwood Prices Brazil
Export Sawnwood per Cu.m
Mahogany KD FAS FOB
UK market US$1030
Jatoba Green (dressed) US$490
Angelim pedra US$160
Pine (AD) US$150
Export Sawnwood FOBCallao/Lima
Caoba (Mahogany) US$830
Cedro (Red Cedar) US$547
Cumala (Virola) US$294
Export(FOB) per Cu.m
Dark Red Meranti (2.5ins x 6ins & up)
GMS select & better (KD) US$440-450
Scantlings (75x125 KD) US$560-575
Sepetir Boards US$180-185
Perupok (25mm&37mm KD)
Export lumber, Air Dry FOB FAS 25-100mmx150mm and up 2.4m and up
Rubberwood Tabletop per Cu.m FOB
sanded and edge profiled
Top Grade US$640-650
Edge Glued Pine Panel
for Korea 1st Grade US$610
US Market US$510
Hardwood Veneer Doors
2100x800x35mm FOB Southern
Rotary Cut Painting Grade 11.00
Sliced Cut Painting Grade
Hardwood Frame 20.00
Ghana FOB export Prices for Furniture Parts
Sterling per piece
Khaya/Sapele nest of table parts
Khaya/Sapele chair parts
Odum coffee table parts
Odum folding chair parts
Odum folding rectangular table
Odum folding round table
Report From Japan Housing Starts Impact Corporate Profits
Results for the year ending March 31, 1999 for most public companies have been announced. In general, both sales and profits dropped compared to a year ago. Some house builders continue to carry heavy liabilities as they have failed to write off losses.
Both house builders and building materials manufacturers and distributers face tough competition and there is a widening gap in performances. Some companies have completed the restructuring process while others still struggle to survive.
Decline in Demand for Tropical Hardwood Logs
The 1999 demand for hardwood logs from SE Asian countries is projected at around 3.7 mil cubic metres which is 6.7% down from 1998 according to the Japan South-Sea Lumber Conference. Demand in the various end-uses is forecast at, 3,320,000 cubic metres for plywood manufacture, 4.4% less than 1998 and 377,000 cubic metres for sawmilling, 23.1% less than last year. The decline in use for plywood is minimal but sawlog use is said to decline sharply as demand is declining.
The demand for plywood is forecasted about 7.9 mil cubic metres based on projections of housing starts for 1999 at 1.3 million units with 4.5 million cubic metres of imports and 3.4 million cubic metres of domestic production. Domestic production of plywood is forecast to require 2.15 million cubic metres of hardwoods, 4.3% up on last year while production using softwood logs is forecast at 1.25 million cubic metres, a 3.6% increase.
April arrivals of European softwood lumber were the highest this year at 172,000 cubic metres, 97.2% higher than April last year. Total imports in the first four month of this year reached 596,000 cubic metres, a 58.5% increase over the same last year.
Since early this year, the cost of importing European lumber jumped because of the weakening yen at which point Japanese buyers and European suppliers switched the contract base to a Yen and Euro or to a cross deal with the Yen, Euro, and U.S. Dollar which softened the impact of strong dollar. Lately the Euro weakening against dollar and yen so that import costs dropped for Japanese buyers. This change made European lumber much more competitive since other imports are all based on the US dollar. With the softer Euro some European suppliers are asking for a slight price rise.
Among the many imported European lumber items, the one showing the greatest increase is whitewood laminated 3 metre posts for which supply has been growing rapidly. At present 26 mills in Europe have been certified for JAS glulam and 25 of these mills are producing JAS laminated posts. Helped by the weak Euro, orders from Japanese buyers are brisk and it is estimated that about 200 containers per month are being shipped.
South Sea Logs
Prices for South Sea logs are on the rise in the producing countries as well as in Japan. May log arrivals (including African logs) were 336,000 cubic metres, 10.3% up from April. June arrivals seem to have slowed because of lower log production and higher FOB price indications. It is reported that importers intend to raise prices in Japan.
Sarawak Meranti logs have moved from US$151-155 to US$156-157 per cubic metre (SQ up) FOB. Small Meranti logs are at US$30 per cubic metre with producers reporting heavy order book positions due to short supplies of larger logs. In PNG, log production is affected by the rain season. Taun logs are at US$135-138 per cubic metre FOB and Calophyllum is reportedly at US$132-135 per cubic metres FOB with new offers being US$5 higher.
In Japan, Sarawak Meranti regular logs that arrived in May are priced at yen 6,100-6,200 per koku CIF, some yen 100-200 higher than a month ago. Plywood quality logs from PNG (Taun/Calophyllum) are firming to about yen 5,600-5,700 per koku CIF.
Despite increases in log and plywood prices in the producer countries, the market in Japan lacks solid demand so that wholesale prices have remained fairly flat. After the holidays in early May, the purchases have been limited to immediate needs only. There are some suggestions that demand will rise in the third quarter as the monthly housing starts continue to be above 100,000 units.
Domestic 12mm concrete formboard plywood prices in Eastern Japan are at yen 1,030-1,050/sheet, yen 20 higher than in May. Indonesian 12mm panels are at around yen 1,040-1,050/sheet, unchanged from May. Sheathing plywood prices remain at yen 920-930 as there are ample stocks. Floor underlay plywood is around yen 1,300.
Export prices seem to have hit a ceiling but domestic softwood plywood prices are firming with orders from major house builders. Structural panels are up by yen 10-20 at yen 870-880, trying to achieve Seihoku's target price of yen 910. Non-JAS sheathing is up yen 20-30 at yen 780 as a result of lower output by mills. Medium and thin plywood is also firming. Domestic thin panels are at yen 290-300, 4mm is at yen 420-460 and 5.5mm is yen 530-560. Imported thin panels are at yen 310-320 while 3.6mm is yen 420-430, 5.2mm is yen 540-550 and they are all up by yen 10-20 per sheet.
Log, Lumber and Panel Prices
Logs For Plywood Manufacturing
CIF Price Yen per Koku
Meranti (Hill, Sarawak)
Medium Mixed 6,100
Meranti (Hill, Sarawak)
STD Mixed 6,200
Meranti (Hill, Sarawak)
(SM60%, SSM40%) 5,500
Taun, Calophyllum (PNG)
and others 5,500
Mix Light Hardwood
(PNG G3-G5 grade) 4,600
Okume (Gabonese) 7,000
Medium MQ & up 8,200
Kapur (Sarawak) Medium
MQ & up 6,400
Logs For Sawmilling FOB Price Yen per Koku
Lumber FOB Price Yen per Cu.m
White Seraya (Sabah)
24x150mm, 4m 1st grade 170,000
Mixed Seraya 24x48mm,
1.8 - 4m, S2S 40,000
Wholesale Prices in May
Report from Korea
Sarawak Meranti regular W399,600
Calophylum/Taun regular W249,750
Solomon Dillenia regular W249,750
Calophylum/Taun Low grade W199,800
Solomon Dillenia Low grade W193,140
Mixed Species Low grade W173,160
NZ Radiata 11m W87,000
NZ Radiata KS W72,000
Price of Panels: ex factory per piece
12mm x 4'x8' T-1 W15,000
12mm x 3'x6' T-1 W 8,500
12mm x 4'x8' T-2 W14,000
12mm x 3'x6' T-2 W 7,500
12mm x 4'x8' Tego W22,000
12mm x 3'x6' Tego W12,000
12mm x 4'x8' W7,440
15mm x 4'x8' W8,300
18mm x 4'x8' W10,210
Report from China China's Imports of Tropical Forest Products in 1998
China is reporting that it imported 5.45 million cubic metres of tropical forest products (log, sawnwood, veneer and plywood) with total value of US$1.17 billion in 1998, this was up 154,000 cubic metres over 1997, an increase of 2.9%. However the value of imports was down, as could be expected, accounting for only 88.4% of the value of 1997 imports.
The main reason for the decline in value was the currency devaluations in SE Asian countries and the sluggish economy and weak demand in Japan and Korea that are traditional big importers of tropical forest products.
In addition the export price also fell due to policies of tax reduction and export promotion by some producing countries. For example, the average CIF of Lauran log from Malaysian in 1998 was only US$137 per cubic metre that was down US$51, or some 27% on 1997. The average CIF price of plywood from Indonesia was US$305.9 in 1998, a reduction of 44% compared to 1997.
Sawnwood, Veneer and Plywood Imports
Tropical log imports in 1998 were 2.6 mil. cubic metres, a decline of 9.6% over 1997 when imports were 2.8 mil. cubic metres. Sawnwood imports reached 777,000 cubic metres, increasing by 17.5%; Veneer, 493,000 cubic metres, up 18.2%; Plywood, 1.603,000 cubic metres, up 17.1%.
With the reduction of tropical log imports in 1998 the tropical log portion of total log imports declined to 53.5% from 63.8% in 1997.
West African Imports
In 1998, of all imported tropical logs, logs from West Africa accounted for 40% or 1.04 mil. cubic metres, maintaining Africa's position as the number one log supplier to China. But, Afican imports fell by 525,000 cubic metres or 33.6% compared to 1997. At the same time, log imports from Malaysia rose to 964,000 cubic metres, up by 31.5% over 1997. Malaysia improved its market share from 25.7% to 37.4% in 1998. Imports from Indonesia totalled 93,000 cubic metres according to sources in China.
The price of imported logs from West Africa was relatively high throughout the year but prices for Malaysian logs declined sharply boosting imports.
Shanghai yuan per Cu.m
Radiate pine log
length:6m, dia. 26cm+ 800
Douglas fir log 30cm+ 1300
White oak lumber 2 ins 10000
Canadian lumber 3m 50cm 1300
US maple lumber 2 ins 11000
Teak sawlog 4 m+ 8000
Lauan 6m 60cm+ 1700
below 48cm 1500
Larch Logs 4m 18cm+ 750-950
Oak 4m 36cm+ 1850
Beech 2.7 45cm 6500
Qindao yuan per Cu.m
Luan Log (mixed) 1200
White oak lumber
2 inches thick 9000
Nanjing yuan per Cu.m
Radiate pine log
length:6m, dia. 26cm+ 800
Douglas fir log 1300
Lauan log 1600
Kapur/Keruing Log 1500
Teak sawlog 4 m+ 9500
American maple lumber
2 inches 10500
Hangzhou yuan per Cu.m
Radiate pine log
length:6m, dia. 26cm+ 900
Douglas Fir sawlog length:
more than 4m 1600
Lauan log 1600
Kapur/Keruing log 1500
Canadian sawlog 4m+ 1150
Teak sawlog 4m+ 8500
Guanzhou yuan per Cu.m
Lauan Log Mixed 1300
Keruing log 1800
White oak 2 ins sawnwood 9000
length: 4m+ 2300
US maple Lumber 2 ins 10,000
Teak sawlog 4 m+ 7500
Sawlog from SE Asia 2800
Wholesale Prices Indonesian and Malaysian plywood 3mm 1220x2440
yuan per sheet
From Europe, an Update on Italy According to Federlegno-Arredo, in 1998 Italian companies exported L 14,654,750 million of furniture (+2% compared to 1997), mainly towards EU countries (which absorbed 57% of Italian furniture exports) and Norh America (12%). Imports of furniture increased by 17% to L 1,225,686 million and came mainly from EU countries (55%), Eastern Europe (19%) and Asia (141%).
The Italian company Snaidero, a kitchen furniture manufacturer, which is mainly owned by the Snaidero family, reported Lira 8.7 billion of net profits in 1998, with consolidated sales worth L 323 billion (a 15% increase compared to 1997). Operating results were at Lira 14 billion. Snaidero is in talks to acquire the German group Poggenpohl (worth L 500 billion in turnover), as well as a Dutch company. In the event that Snaidero buys Poggenpohl, the company will also target quotation on the stock exchange.
In 1998 the Italian leather upholstered furniture manufacturer Natuzzi reported consolidated net sales worth L 1,066 billion: out of these L 995.1 billion were sales of furniture (+1.8% on 1997), while L 70 billion were sales of furs and raw materials (-17%). Sales in the US were L 466.2 billion and remained stable compared to 1997; sales in Europe increased by 9.3% to L446.8 billion, while a -20.1% decrease affected sales in other countries, mainly due to the Asian crisis. Natuzzi's consolidated net profits increased by 33.7% in 1998 to L 139.3 billion.
SICC, the Italian producer of kitchen furniture located in Jesi, reported 1998 net profits of L 737 million, down from L 1.5 billion in 1997. Turnover increased by 8.7% compared to 1997, to L 41.3 billion.
Other News from Europe
The Finnish conglomerate Hackman is planning to sell some of its units (woodworking tools and milk refrigerating tanks), for a total of around FIM 400 million in 1998, in order to concentrate on its core business. The group is very scattered and is unable to internationalize all their fields of operation. Hackman will concentrate on Designor (kitchen products) and Metos (professional kitchens), which will grow by acquisitions.
The closure of cabinet firm Casterbridge has left Airsprung Group stronger with improved cashflow. The Stg 8.1 million cost of closing the loss-making firm last August meant pre-tax profits fell by 75% to Stg 1.8 million in the year to 31 March 1999. Without Casterbridge the group had an operating profit worth Stg 6.7 million.
Particleboard Producers Suffering
The European Particleboard market is in a difficult stage, as reported recently. During the first half of July, demand in the individual sales markets has not improved to any extent; only a few companies reported a strengthening of order book positions. At the same time, most particleboard producers are making use of their normal production capacities.
Only a few producers are adjusting their output to market conditions, but these are only short-term shut-downs. In the course of last month, only some weekend shut-downs have taken place among the European particleboard industry. Once again, it proved impossible to reduce the clearly excessive stocks of the particleboard industry.
Sawnwood and Panel Prices in the UK
FOB plus Commission per Cu.m
Teak 1st Quality 1"x8"x8' Stg2755
FAS 25mm Stg700
Tulipwood FAS 25mm Stg240
Cedro FAS 25mm Stg410
DR Meranti Sel/Btr 25mm Stg365
Keruing Std/Btr 25mm Stg260
Sapele FAS 25mm Stg370
Iroko FAS 25mm Stg325
Khaya FAS 25mm Stg300
Utile FAS 25mm Stg383
Wawa No1. C&S 25mm Stg185
Plywood and MDF in the UK
CIF per Cu.m
Brazilian WBP BB/CC 6mm US$455
" Mahogany 6mm US$1300
Indonesian WBP 6mm US$460
Eire, MDF BS1142 per 10 Sq.m
US Exports of Hardwood Lumber The value of US hardwood lumber exports did not grow to any great extent during the past five years. While it increased steadily from US$1.118 billion in 1994 to a record level of US$1.432 billion in 1997, it fell back to US$1.222 billion in 1998. Last year's decline was largely as a result of the Asian financial crisis.
This was most pronounced for the United States' third largest export market – Japan. Japanese purchases of US hardwood lumber fell from US$139 million in 1997 to only US$72 million in 1998, a decline of almost fifty percent. Exports to other important destinations, such as Canada and the European Union also declined, but to a much lesser extent. As a welcome counterbalance, shipments to some North African countries and to South and Central America increased, but these regions account only for a very small share of overall US hardwood lumber exports.
In addition to the Asian crisis, there are other negative factors influencing the lumber export business. As the domestic hardwood market is booming, many log and lumber producers have only a modest interest in exporting. Furthermore, ocean freight rates have been firming recently causing sellers to be cautious about quoting CIF prices for future deliveries. Freight rates from most American ports on the East coast to major Central European ports are presently standing at US$650 for a 40' container.
Canada is the undisputed number one export market for US hardwoods. Canada's share of the business has been increasing in recent years, presently standing at almost 25%. Canada is followed by Italy (7.8%), the United Kingdom (7.2%), and Spain (6.6%). Spain stands out for its fast growing market share, increasing from only 4.3% in 1994 to 6.6% at the present time. In value terms, Spain's purchases of American hardwood lumber advanced US$47.5 million in 1994 to US$86.7 million in 1998, a staggering 83 percent increase.
All European Union countries combined purchased US$514.6 million of hardwood lumber from the US in 1998, or 42 percent of total American hardwood lumber exports. This share has also been increasing moderately during the past five years, being at only 39% in 1994.
Mexico is the fifth largest importer of US hardwoods, with a purchase value of US$80.2 million in 1998, this is 46% more than in 1994.
Among the Asian countries, only Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan P.o.C imported US hardwood lumber in excess of US$20 million in 1998. They all purchased less in 1998 than the previous year and, with the exception of Hong Kong, the long-term trend is also trending down.
Other Asian countries of lesser and declining importance include Thailand, S. Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines. Asian countries bucking the downward trend include: Malaysia, Indonesia, and above all China.
While China imported less than US$2 million of US hardwood lumber in 1994, it purchased almost US$17 million in 1997. While imports declined to US$14 million in 1998, analyst at AKTRIN believe that the import value will reach a new record this year with a projected value in excess of US$20 million.
US hardwood exports to Malaysia also grew at a brisk rate, averaging 25% p.a. Malaysia was the only Asian country for which US hardwood lumber exports did not decline between 1997 and 1998.
Presently, there are no clear indications for the short-term trend of the US hardwood export market. During the first quarter of 1999, the value of US hardwood lumber exports amounted to US$329 million, compared to US$319 million for the same period in 1998. This is a gain of 3.15 percent. However, figures for the first quarter of 1999 indicate that several countries, which have been major buyers of North American hardwood in the past, fell short of the volumes imported in earlier years. Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Taiwan P.o.C all showed significant declines. However, it seems that during the past few months overall export shipments have increased slightly.
Business in most European countries was only fair, in spite of relatively low inventory levels. Overall, North American hardwood exports to the European Union were down nearly 10% for the first three months of 1999 compared to the same period in 1998. Only the Irish, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish markets were somewhat more active.
Portugal and Spain purchased a fair volume of White Oak and Italian customers bought White Oak, Poplar, Walnut lumber, and in particular Walnut logs. As the summer holiday comes closer, the industry will experience the usual seasonal slow-down of shipments to domestic and foreign destinations.
Generally, buyers are asking for highly mixed containers for immediate shipment. European hardwood producers are doing a good job in sorting for width and colour. The ability to offer these services, at very competitive prices, has greatly enhanced their competitive position. In fact, European Beach and Oak has replaced some of the North American hardwoods as well as some tropical species. Many American and tropical suppliers of hardwoods have been loosing market share to European hardwood suppliers.
Sales to several Far Eastern countries have picked up significantly recently. While the increase in hardwood shipments to the Far East is welcome, the gains have to be seen in the proper perspective. In value terms, the gains are relatively minor when compared to the volume purchased by other regions.
Overall Asian purchases contribute only some 15 percent to total US hardwood exports. On the other hand, Italy and Spain bought nearly as much lumber as all of the Asian countries combined, and Canadian purchases alone comprise 26% of the value of all US hardwood exports. Although overall exports to Asia are higher, Taiwan P.o.C and Japan continue to suffer declining hardwood purchases.
There are some subtle differences in the export business from the various US supply regions.
Northern USA: Orders from overseas buyers have been slow for Northern US sawmills, with the exception of Hard Maple and some specialty items. The vast majority of lumber exports went to Canadian customers, some for re-export overseas. The demand for Ash from European importers has improved.
Southern USA: Demand from European customers is good, but most sales demand heavily specified lengths and widths and often the colour is also specified. Ash shipments are fair with slightly increasing orders from Japan. Shipments of Red Oak to Mexico, China and South Korea showed some improvement. Spain and Portugal had some interest in White Oak, but the demand from Germany is weak.
Appalachian Region: Domestic demand for Appalachian hardwoods is very strong and many of the smaller producers no longer find it necessary to cater to foreign buyers. Some of them have completely abandoned the export business. On the other hand, larger producers and well-established exporters remain loyal to their foreign clients and even increased their shipments. Sales of good quality Hard Maple is still strong. Some exporters also increased sales of Ash to Japan and Cherry to Europe.
Other News from North America
Weyerhaeuser Acquires MacMillan Bloedel
Weyerhaeuser and MacMillan Bloedel have announced that they have reached an agreement for Weyerhaeuser to acquire MacMillan Bloedel Limited, Canada in a stock transaction valued at approximately C$3.59bn (US$2.45bn). Once the transaction is complete, Weyerhaeuser will have annual sales of approximately C$19.5bn (US$13.3bn) and a market capitalisation of approximately C$24.2bn (US$16.5bn). Already the world's largest producer of softwood lumber and market pulp, and the second largest manufacturer of oriented strandboard (OSB), the agreement makes Weyerhaeuser one of the top three softwood product producers.
Weyerhaeuser expects to realise approximately C$219m (US$150m) in annual benefits through savings in transportation and distribution, improving purchasing practices, increasing the balance in its manufacturing system and streamlining operations.
Abbreviations LM Loyale Merchant, a grade of log parcel Cu.m Cubic Metre
FOB Free-on-Board SQ Sawmill Quality
SSQ Select Sawmill Quality KD Kiln Dry
AD Air Dry FAS Sawnwood Grade First and
Boule A Log Sawn Through and Through Second
the boards from one log are bundled WBP Water and Boil Proof
together MR Moisture Resistant
BB/CC Grade B faced and Grade C backed pc per piece
Plywood ea each
MBF 1000 Board Feet BF Board Foot
Sq.Ft Square Foot MDF Medium Density Fibreboard
FFR French Franc F.CFA CFA Franc
Koku 0.278 Cu.m or 120BF Price has moved up or down
ITTO FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME GRANTS ITTO offers grants for training and technology transfer through its fellowship programme to promote human resource development, development of downstream timber industries and institutional strengthening in the forestry sectors of member countries. The priority areas are: Forest Industry; Economic Information and Market Intelligence; and Reforestation and Forest Management. Grants are provided for a variety of activities including: study tours of forests, mills and research institutions; participation in conferences, workshops and training courses; postgraduate programmes (partial tuition grants), not including Ph.D.; short-term research; technology transfer to tropical producer member countries; and preparation of technical documents.
Applications are required to conform with ITTO’s general objectives in respect of sustainable forest management, utilisation and trade and, in particular, the Year 2000 Objective. The grant is a maximum of US$12,000. Only nationals of ITTO member countries are eligible to apply.
A Fellowship Selection Committee appraises applications at the ITTO Council Sessions in May and November/December each year. Applicants should note that grant funded activities should not start until at least one month after the relevant Council Session. The deadline for applications is the 1st September1999 and this is for activities that can begin in December 1999 at the earliest.
Further details and application forms (in English, French or Spanish) are available from:
Dr. Chisato Aoki, Fellowship Programme, ITTO,