KUCHING: Sarawak’s major timber companies are benefitting from the price uptrend in export plywood products to key market Japan.
Export prices for Sarawak plywood products to Japan have risen over 10% since late last year, and further increases are on the cards.
Miri-based Shin Yang group, which is Sarawak’s top plywood manufacturer and exporter, had quoted higher export prices to Japan in April.
For the (JAS 3x6) concrete forming panel, it was raised to about US$580 per cu metre and for coated concrete forming panel, US$680 per cu metre, according to the Japan Lumber Report’s figures quoted by International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) in its May 16-31 timber tropical market report.
The new prices are between 14% and 15% higher against their respective prices of US$510 and US$590 recorded in December-2017.
Japan imported some RM2.27bil worth of Malaysian plywood in 2017.
In the first three months of this year, Japan imported 282,900 cu metre of plywood products from Malaysia, which was lower by 12% as compared with 322,000 cu metre in the same period last year.
“Exporting prices of plywood from Malaysia and Indonesia continue to climb,” said the latest ITTO report.
The report said market prices for plywood products in Japan were also increasing. “Prices of coated concrete forming JAS 3x6 panel are 1,460-1,470 yen per sheet delivered, 20 to 30 yen up from March, and 1,240-1,250 yen on JAS 3x6 concrete forming panel, 10 yen up.
“Movement has been slow, so pace of price increase is gradual.”
According to ITTO, although the rainy season in log producing regions of Malaysia and Indonesia was over in early April,l og supply is still slow.
“Logging road is still muddy and log hauling is difficult.
“It may take another month until log hauling gets back to normal.
“Therefore, plywood mills continue to suffer log shortage and are forced curtailed production, which pushes production cost, on top of higher log cost. Major plywood exporters like Shin Yang of Malaysia and Korindo of Indonesia propose higher prices for April,” the report said.