Malaysia's trade in wood and wood products rises at the beginning of 2022

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Malaysia’s total trade in wood and wood products increased by 10% to RM8.64 billion in the first quarter of 2022, from RM7.89 billion in the same period in 2021. Timber industries around the world are trying to adjust to the disruption in the global supply chain. Sanctions on Russia have removed a vast volume of wood products from the market and at the same time there is growing demand. Both issues are having the effect of driving up prices.

Malaysia’s exports of wood products between January and March this year increased by 8.2% to RM6.54 billion compared to RM6.04 billion a year ago. Wooden furniture remained the big earner at RM3.1 billion, or 47% of first quarter exports followed by plywood (RM896.5 million: 14%) and sawnwood (RM640.9 million: around 10%).

The top three export destinations for Malaysia’s wood products in the first quarter 2022 were the United States (30%), Japan (15%) and China (9%). Malaysia’s exports of wooden furniture were mainly to the United States (59%) followed by Japan (6%) and Singapore (4%).

There was also a 16% rise in the imports of wood products to RM2.1 billion in the first quarter 2022 versus RM1.8 billion a year ago with imports from China (37%) followed by Indonesia (20%) and Vietnam (9%).

Among the materials imported were sawnwood and veneer which increased by 54% and 57%, respectively, year-onyear. However, there was a drop in imports for particleboard and logs.

In related news, Sarawak’s timber industry saw a recovery in exports in 2021 compared to 2020 driven by rising prices for major products such as plywood, logs, sawnwood and fibreboard.

Exports in the first quarter of this year increased 26% year on year to RM1.04 billion with Japan accounting for almost 60% of this trade. Other major markets were India, RM119 million, the United States, RM61 million, the Middle East, RM44 million, Taiwan P.o.C RM43 million and the Philippines RM41 million. In terms of products, plywood exports increased 23% in value in the first quarter of 2022.

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