With a total of 3.088 m m³, China imported 64 percent more softwood from Europe last year than in the previous year. According to Chinese Customs figures, the main supplier was Finland, as in the previous year, where purchases rose by 84% percent to 1.683 m m³. This means that Finland accounts for 54.5 percent of all Chinese imports of sawn softwood from Europe, five percentage points more than in 2016, and China has also become the most important export market for the Finnish sawmill industry.
The development of imports from Sweden and Germany was below average with +31 percent to 896,000 m³ and +15 percent to 205,000 m³ respectively. In contrast, Ukraine (+284 percent to 123,000 m³), Latvia (+124 percent to 94,000 m³) and Austria (+164 percent to 87,000 (33,000 m³) achieved well above average percentage increases.
Chinese imports of sawn softwood totaled 24.996 m m³ in 2017, an increase of 18 percent over the previous year. Within ten years, China has increased its imports of sawn softwood from Europe by over 800 percent or around 22 m m³. The main factors behind the increase were the growing population and massive migration to the conurbations, which has led to a significant increase in demand for housing, a trend that is still continuing. In recent years, the Chinese furniture industry has also established itself as an important buyer of sawn softwood.
Russia remained by far China’s most important supplier of coniferous timber in 2017 with 14.124 m m³. Russia thus accounted for 56.5 percent of total imports. Canada was the second largest supplier with 4.972 m m³ (-2 percent).