China’s Imports Rebound in 2016 – led by Lumber (+19%) and Logs (+9%)

Chinese wood products production and demand increased in 2016, fuelling log and lumber import gains from Russia, but also from the USA, New Zealand (logs), Australia (logs), Canada (logs) and Europe (lumber).

Final year-end statistics for 2016 show that China’s imports of logs and lumber have rebounded strongly from the slowdown in 2015. Softwood lumber imports soared to new heights and recorded the highest import volumes ever.

China imported 48.7 million m³ of logs in 2016, an increase of 9% from 2015. Of the total log imports, softwood log imports were 33.7 million m³ (+13% as compared to 2015), while the hardwoods were 15.1 million m³ (+2%). China imported 31.6 million m³ of lumber in 2016, up 19% over 2015. Of the total lumber imports, softwood lumber imports were 21.1 million m³ (+21% as compared to 2015), while the hardwoods were 10.6 million m³ (+15%).

These and other year-end statistics and analysis will be featured in the February issue of WOOD MARKETS’ monthly China Bulletin that will be released after Chinese New Year in February.

With steady to increasing demand in 2016 and with well-balanced inventories, both softwood log imports and prices (in US$/ m³) increased throughout the year. New Zealand softwood log exports continue to dominate exporters to China and increased by 12% in 2016 at 11.6 million m³. This was followed by Russia (9.2 million m³), USA (4.5 million m³), Australia (3.3 million m³) and Canada (2.8 million m³). The 2016 softwood log import volumes have only been exceeded by the record volume in 2014 of 35.5 million m³.