China log imports dipped in 2020

China saw a decline in 2020 log imports – According to China Customs, log imports in 2020 totalled 59.20 million cubic metres valued at US$8.415 billion (CIF), a year on year decline of 2% in volume and 11% in value. The average price for imported logs was US$141 (CIF) per cubic metre, down 9% on levels in 2019. Of total 2020 log imports, softwood log imports rose 4% to 46.86 million cubic metres, accounting for 79% of the national total, 4% up on 2019. The average price for imported softwood logs was US$117 (CIF) per cubic metre, down 6% on levels in 2019.

Chinese analysts say China’s log imports fell mainly because of the impact of the pandemic but that the increase in softwood logs imports was due to the large volume of harvested logs available in Europe due to heavy felling as a pest control measure.

It has been forecast that as much as 500 million cubic metres of European spruce will be harvested by 2024 and most of these softwood logs will be imported by China via the China-Europe Railway Express. Softwood log imports from Germany soared – In 2020 the volume of softwood log imports from most countries however, from Germany, the Czech Republic and Japan imports increased which contribute to the overall rise increase in softwood log imports even during the pandemic.

New Zealand was the main softwood log supplier to China in 2020 accounting for 34% of total softwood log imports. Softwood log imports from New Zealand totalled 16.15 million cubic metres in 2020, a year on year decline of 8%.

Germany became the second main supplier of softwood logs imports at 9.98 million cubic metres, a year on year increase of 162%, accounting for about 21% of the total softwood log imports in 2020, exceeding imports from Russia for the first time.

China’s softwood log imports from the Czech Republic and Japan in 2020 rose 47% and 23% to 3.38 million cubic metres and 1.15 million cubic metres respectively. Russia ranked the third supplier of China’s softwood logs imports at 4.43 million cubic metres in 2020, a year-on-year decline of 24% and accounted for 9.5% of total softwood log imports in 2020.

Source: ITTO TTM Report