KUCHING: The export prices of Malaysian plywood to Japan have been on a steady rise since late last year due to supply shortage.
Some local suppliers like Shin Yang Group had stopped taking new orders in March to clear up existing orders first, according to Japan Lumber Reports (JLR).
Shin Yang is the top plywood manufacturer in Sarawak.
Sarawak exported about 345,943 cubic metres of the panel products worth RM658mil (free on board value) in the first four months of 2021.
About 239,934 cu m valued at RM348.9mil or 72.5% of Sarawak’s total export value went to Japan, latest data from Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corp have shown.
Malaysia and Indonesia are the top tropical plywood suppliers to Japan.
The JLR said the market price of 12mm panel in Japan was climbing and in Tokyo, the prices of 3x6 coated concrete forming panels were at about 1,430 yen (RM53.73) per sheet delivered, which is 70-80 yen (RM2.63-RM3.01) higher than in April.
“Export prices by the suppliers continued climbing and future prices are as high as 1,500 yen (RM56.35) per sheet. So the dealers in Japan need to increase the sales prices to catch up with future high prices,” said JLR, a fortnightly trade journal on the Japanese market.
Nankai Plywood Co Ltd (Kagawa prefecture), said JLR has announced an increase in prices by 10% to 20% for all its South Sea (tropical) hardwood plywood based products such as ceiling board, panel for closet as well as 12mm and 6mm floor.
Daiken Corp (Osaka), on the other hand, has raised the prices of composite floor with tropical plywood base and related products by 10% and composite floor for condominiums with 9mm base by up to 15%.
A third Japanese company, Asahi Woodtech Corp, has similarly hiked the prices of its products like composite floor with tropical hardwood plywood base by 10% to 15%.
Other than the soaring prices of imported hardwood plywood, these companies said the revised prices of their products were also due to high costs of logistics and petrochemical products.
The JLR said once the rainy season in Malaysia is over in March/April, log supply should increase and export prices of plywood would be eased. The low-cost panel of 1,300 yen (RM48.85), which were contracted late last year, should then arrive in Japan.