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China imported a total of 12% less softwood logs up to the beginning of August, but 117% more timber came from Europe. Almost 6.2 million m³ were shipped from Europe to China in the first seven months of 2020.

Chinese imports from Germany continue to show the highest growth rates. Almost 3.7 million m3 is over 200% more than in the already strong period of the previous year. So Germany delivered an average of 530,000 m³ per month – mostly by container – to China.

Germany importer No. 2

With these quantities, Germany overtook traditional suppliers in China, such as Russia (2.7 million m3; -30%), Australia (2.3 million m3; -8%), the USA (1.2 million m3; – 38%) or Canada (640,000 m3; -53%). At this point in time, these four countries delivered more than Germany in the previous year. Germany is now the largest importer of coniferous sawn timber to China, behind New Zealand.

And the New Zealanders also exported significantly less softwood logs to China: 7.7 million m3 is 25% less than in the previous year. New Zealand took tough COVID-19 measures that made harvest and transport difficult, among other things.

But the quantities from Russia, Canada and the USA have also decreased noticeably, which suggests that COVID-19 has also left its mark on the Chinese timber industry. China’s softwood log imports fell by 12% from 25.2 million m3 to 22.2 million m3, from January to July.

Top 10 softwood log importers to China

Country        1–7 2019        1–7 2020          Diff i. %

New Zealand    10,306             7,722             -25

Germany           1,216             3,676             202

Russia               3,799             2,670            –30

Australia            2,525             2,334               -8

Czech Republic   739              1,721            133

USA                  1,968              1,213            -38

Canada             1,354                 639            -53

Japan                  573                 613               7

Uruguay            1,131                780             -69

France                 131                269             105

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