Impact of Covid 19 on timber trade

17.07.2020
COVID-19

For information on the progress of the spread and the disease situation: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ We bring you here, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, the information provided by our members and partners regarding the tropical timber market and the activities of companies in Europe, Africa and Asia.

UE

The GWMI’s July 17 publication reports that « EU27 (i.e. excluding the UK) tropical timber product imports continued to defy expectations of COVID-19 driven collapse in the four months to April this year

Despite all the large western European countries implementing COVID-19 lockdown measures starting in the second two weeks of March, and mounting supply-side problems in tropical countries, total imports of tropical wood and wood furniture products into in the EU in April were little changed compared to the previous month.

Unfortunately, this is not a good news story. The signs are that the EU market for tropical wood products was weakening well before the effects of COVID-19 were even apparent »

AFRICA

The World Bank macro and financial monitoring report for June 26, 2020 includes the weekly Covid-19 Economic News (“Covidonomics”), the Africa Macro-Financial News, and  the Global Macro-Financial news with relevance to Africa.  Information is organized in three buckets: Sub-Saharan Africa Region-wide, West & Central, and East & Southern. Section 4 provides a snapshot of High-Frequency Data, including Exchange Rates, Stock Market Indices, Government Bond Yields, Domestic Interest rates, Commodity Prices, and COVID-19 high frequency data and community Mobility Report to track progress in lockdown/re-opening.

According to the World Bank, energy prices are expected to be 40% lower on average in 2020 than in 2019, although a significant rebound is expected the following year… “The difficult economic situation in Central Africa, reinforced by the devastating effect of the Coronavirus pandemic, has led to a widespread fall in commodities in the subregion. “ The BEAC reports that in the first quarter of 2020, the overall price index of commodities exported by CEMAC fell by 14.9%.

Moreover, according to WFP figures, the number of food-insecure people in the region could reach 57.6 million by the end of the year – up from 36 million before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson for the UN agency, said that “the socio-economic challenges resulting from the measures instituted to contain the spread of Covid-19 are having a significant impact on food security in West and Central Africa. “

REPUBLIC OF CONGO

The government extended the state of health emergency from 10 July for 20 days.

The Coordination Organisation for the Control of Endemics in Central Africa (OCEAC) is carrying out actions to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), particularly because of the regular movement of populations, observed at the level of borders and their permeability, which increases the risks of the epidemic spreading. In particular, prevention and protection kits against COVID-19 have been made available to the forward health posts located at the entry and exit gates of Congo and CAR.

The WB’s GDP growth forecast for the Republic of Congo has been further revised downward, suggesting now a sharp contraction of 6.2% in 2020, compared to the much more optimistic projections of January (+4.6%) and March (+1%).

CHINA According to GWMI publication of 17 July« Chinese timber imports fell by 21% in the first five months of 2020. Instead of 17.5 million m³, China imported only 13.9 million m³ from January to May. »