Chinese timber imports fell by 21% in the first five months of 2020. Instead of 17.5 million m³, China imported only 13.9 million m³ from January to May.
While the main suppliers, New Zealand (-30%) and Russia (-42%), lost a lot, the Europeans managed to increase their exports by 128% to 3.8 million m³.
Germany exported almost 2.3 million m3 of logs within five months. According to China Customs, this is 211% more than in the previous year. The Czech Republic achieved a similar result: 1.1 million m3 and 164% more than in the previous year.
France, China’s third most important European supplier, also doubled exports to 170,000 m3. After Vaia storm, Italy intended to export heavily to China. That didn’t work. This year exports reached around 30,000 m3 in five months (4000 m3 in 2019). Austria apparently did not ship anything in May. Exports remain at a modest 3000 m3.
The European flood of exports can be explained by the high volume of damaged wood. It is very remarkable that the export flow did not stop despite the lack of containers and the increase in prices, as well as the COVID 19 measures.
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