The world wood market has become very chaotic due to the outbreak of the coronavirus which seriously impacted the import and export of wood products. The demand from China suffered in the first half of 2002, but arrivals of bark beetle damaged European logs are steady and demand recovered in the second half. Imports are also high from New Zealand with the European beetle damaged logs becoming the second source for China.
In 2019, Chinese imports of logs from New Zealand reached 17-18 mil. m3, about 3% more than 2018 and logs from Russia about 5-6 mil. m3, 27% less. European logs were estimated at about 7-8 mil. m3, 470% more.
The removal of beetle damaged logs is a priority at the moment in Europe and more volume is expected in the next year and years to come. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, European supply sources prefer to sell to China probably because of prices. Meanwhile, Russian log supply declined because of export duties, while supply from the U.S.A. dropped, triggered by the ongoing trade war between the two countries.
In the first half of 2020, New Zealand log supply decreased by more than 25%, Russian logs decreased by more than 30% and logs from the U.S.A. contracted by more than 45% as both supplying countries and China suffered extreme slowdown of economic activities due to the corona crisis.
European logs are a big relief for China but total softwood log import in the first half of 2020 was more than 16% less than in the same period of 2019.
The world wood market recovered after the summer and log demand in China got active so that New Zealand exports of radiata pine logs to China increased both in volume and price, recovering the loss from the first half.
Russian supply in the future is uncertain after the president Putin requested a ban on the exports of logs and semi-finished wood products from 2022. To supplement Russian supply, China will have to increase imports of New Zealand radiata pine and European beetle damaged logs.
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