KUCHING: Malaysia, once a major supplier of plywood to China, has now become a key importer of China-made plywood.
In the first half of 2020 (1H20), China’s plywood exports to Malaysia soared 97% to 252,000 cubic metres (cbm) from that of 1H19 but the average price of of plywood Malaysian importers paid fell by 27% to US$269 per cbm.
“Malaysia was once a major supplier of plywood to China but now China’s plywood imports from Malaysia totalled just 7,760 cbm valued at US$3.73mil in the first half of 2020, ” according to the International Tropical Timber Organisation Tropical Timber Market Report (Sept 1-15).
About 30% or 2,543 cbm of Malaysia’s plywood exports to China in 1H20 came from Sarawak, figures from Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corp (STIDC) showed.
China exported plywood to 14 countries, with each buying at least 100,000 cbm. Malaysia is ranked fifth as the key buyer of China’s plywood after the Philippines (imported 372,000 cbm in 1H20), the United Kingdom (314,000 cbm), Japan (274,000 cbm) and Vietnam (261,000 cbm).
Based on China Customs data, Malaysia paid the lowest average price for plywood from China among the 14 importing countries. The second lowest average price of US$295 per cbm was paid by the United Arab Emirates which imported 232,000 cbm in 1H20 while Canada paid the highest average price of US$814 per cbm for imports of 107,000 cbm.
In 1H20, China’s plywood exports were down by 6% to about 4.78 million cbm valued at US$1.92bil. Exports to the US slipped by 26% to 214,000 cbm at an average price of US$744 per cbm. The average price of China’s export plywood fell 9% to US$402 per cbm from a year ago.
In addition to plywood, Malaysia recorded a drastic increase in the imports of China-made wooden furniture. In 1H20, Malaysia raised its imports of wooden furniture by 64% to US$195mil and was one of the four countries that purchased more during the period under review. Nine other countries reduced their imports of wooden furniture from China by 1% (Japan) to 43% (US).
On the other hand, Malaysia’s wooden furniture exports to China plunged 39% to US$14mil in 1H20 from a year ago.
The United States is still the largest importer of China’s wooden furniture, paying US$2.17mil in 1H20 although the value fell by 43% from 1H19. Countries that increased their imports from China are South Korea (+11%), Australia (6%) and the Netherland (4%), according to the ITTO report.
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