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China’s log imports fell sharply in the first half of 2020 to 24.51 million cubic metres valued at US$3.558 billion, down 60% in volume and 62% in value from the same period of 2019.

Of total log imports, softwood log imports fell 61% to 17.64 million cubic metres, accounting for 72% of the national total. Hardwood log imports fell 55% to 6.87 million cubic metres (28% of the national total log imports).

Of total hardwood log imports, tropical log imports were 4.11 million cubic metres valued at US$956 million, down 59% in volume and 64% in value from the same period of 2019 and accounted for 60% of all hardwood log imports.

US no longer largest log supplier

The main countries supplying more than 1 million cubic metres of logs to China in the first half of 2020 were New Zealand, Russia, Germany, Australia, PNG, Czech Rep., US and Solomon Islands. Shipments of logs to China from all main suppliers fell in the first half of the year. The decline of more than 70% in shipments of logs from the US was the most significant.

In the first half of the year New Zealand was the main log supplier to China accounting for 26% of total log imports.

Imports from New Zealand totalled 6.33 million cubic metres, down 64% from the same period of 2019.

The second ranked supplier of logs was Russia at 3.29 million cubic metres, down 56% from the same period of 2019 and accounting for about 13.5% of the national total.

The third ranked supplier of logs was Germany at 3.29 million cubic metres, down 22% from the same period of 2019 and accounting for just over 13% of the national total. Germany has become the most important supplier of China’s log imports.

Major entry ports for log imports from Germany

Over 90% of China’s log imports from Germany in the first half of 2020 were through Qingdao Port in Shandong Province which handled around 45% of all log imports.

The other major entry points for logs were Yanshan in Shanghai, Dapeng Port in Guangdong Province, Tianjin Port and Xiamen Haicang Port in Fujian Province.

The average price for China’s log imports from Germany through Qingdao port was the lowest at US$96 per cubic metre just below the average price for logs of US$100 per cubic metre. Logs supplied to China from Germany arrived via the China-Europe Railway Express.

Decline in tropical hardwood log imports

Tropical log imports in the first half of 2020 amounted 4.11 million cubic metres valued at US$965 million, down 59% in volume and 64% in value over the same period of 2019 and accounted for 17% of the national total log imports volume.

In the first half of 2020 China imported tropical logs mainly from Papua New Guinea (34%), Solomon Islands (25%), Brazil (8.3%), the Republic of Congo (5.9%), Cameroon (5.0%), Equatorial Guinea (4.8%), Mozambique (3%) and Suriname (3%). Just 8 countries supplied nearly 90% of China’s tropical log requirements in the first half of 2020.

Tropical hardwood log imports from the main suppliers were sharply down in the first half of 2020. Log imports from Equatorial Guinea and Mozambique fell 70% and 69% respectively.

Before their log export bans, Laos and Myanmar were major sources of tropical logs for China. However, China’s log imports from Laos in the first half of 2020 fell to just 15,500 cubic metres valued at US$18 million, down 82% in volume and 83% in value.

China’s log imports from Myanmar fell to just 1,300 cubic metres valued at US$1.45 million, down 88% in volume and 89% in value.

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