FEA update – China softwood log inventories

Friday 26 May 2023

China’s Softwood Log Inventories at Ocean Ports -- FEA industry sources in China report that softwood log inventories at the country’s main ocean ports totalled 4.31 million m³ on April 22, a decrease of 8% (-362,000 m³) from the previous month, as follows:

• Radiata pine log inventory volumes from New Zealand and South America amounted to 2.62 million m³, a drop of 8% from a month earlier and comprising 61% of overall log inventories (similar to late March).

• North American Douglas-fir and hemlock log volumes totalled 647,000 m³, representing growth of 8% from the previous month and accounting for 15% of overall log inventories (versus 13% in late March).

• European spruce log volumes were 886,000 m³, down 12% from a month earlier and comprising 21% of overall log stocks.

• Softwood log inventories from other countries (Japanese sugi, European red pine logs, etc.) amounted to 157,000 m³ (-25%).

Please note: China has a five-day Labour Day holiday April 29–May 3, so the inventory for April is updated to April 22 only.

Average daily sales at ocean ports were estimated at 70,000 m³ for the first three weeks in April, versus 49,075 m³ in April 2022 and 110,875 m³ in April 2021. Log wholesale market prices continued their downward trend, dropping by RMB 40–60/m³ in late April at Taicang and Lanshan from values in late March. Higher stock levels of older European spruce logs are still the largest risk factor that could lead to a further price decline.

This means traders and distributors may have to drop their price levels in order to move inventories quickly ahead of the low season. It is predicted that new arrivals of spruce logs will decrease rapidly after May once all of the purchasing volumes confirmed in December and January have been fully shipped. This might lead to a significant reduction in spruce log inventories.

For more information on FEA’s China Bulletin where this data is reported monthly, please click here, or contact Matt Robertson at mrobertson@getfea.com.

Source: FEA

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