Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

China Wood Imports 2015: Russia and Finland gain, USA, Canada fall

Wayne Iversen

By Wayne Iversen


February 10, 2016

russian-woodpng_022015 will go into the books as a year of unexpected change for wood importers in China. Demand for all wood was down 7.6% compared to 2014. A total of 71 million m3 of logs and lumber were imported compared to 77 million m3 in the previous year. Trends within the macro picture reveal shifting advantages among wood exporting nations.

  • Imports of Russian logs were down by almost 7% year-on-year, however imports of Russian lumber were up nearly 20%
  • The volume of Russian lumber flowing into China has been increasing steadily since Russia began experimenting with log export tariffs in 2008. The growing inflows of Russian lumber is most noticeable in the northern land ports
  • Of the Europeans, Finland made the most impressive gains in 2015 with 57% growth in Pine lumber shipped to China, reaching 620 thousand m3
  • Canadian SPF exporters lost market share, giving away significant ground in the White Pine lumber category, dropping from a 70% share to a 60% share of the 7.3 million m3 pie
  • China’s wood imports from the US were down by nearly 23% for all species combined. Douglas Fir logs for example were down from over 1.4 million m3 in 2014 to just 700 thousand m3 in 2015.
  • New Zealand also came out on the wrong side of the shuffle. The volume of Radiata logs imported was down 14% year-on-year.

Average prices paid by Chinese importers declined 18% for logs and lumber in 2015. While this average price groups together all species and products, it does help illustrate the changing context of trade. External factors, like foreign exchange rates, and slowing drivers of demand in the manufacturing and construction sectors, conspired to create a new order.

Source: All data from China Customs via Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant’s “Wood Report”