The import value of logs and lumber to China has fallen by 25% in 12 months because of declining housing constructions, reports Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).
China imported softwood logs and lumber worth US$498m during the month of November in 2015. This was 26% lower than the same month in 2014 and the third lowest monthly level in three years.
As recently as April 2014, the import value was at an all-time high of almost US$900m, WRQ said.
WRQ said reduced demand for both overseas and domestic wood products in 2015 has been a consequence of the slowdown in the Chinese economy, which has also affected consumer spending on home remodelling and furniture.
In November 2015, the average costs of imported softwood logs were down 30% from their peak in April of 2014 to reach their lowest level since early 2009.
The biggest price drops during 2015 were for logs from New Zealand, Australia Lumber import prices to China have also fallen during 2014 and 2015, but the decline has been slightly lower than for that of logs.
The biggest lumber price declines have been for product imported from Canada, Sweden, Chile and Russia, Swedish and Finnish sawmills selling into the high-end market in China increased their shipments to China during 2015, contrasting with a decline for products from the US, Canada and Chile, which reduced their sales to China in 2015 by over 20%.