News from the markets


ITTO has published its tropical timber market report for the second half of August 2023.


The main topics covered in this report are:

The return of plywood production in India to pre-pandemic levels. Plywood manufacturers in southern India have in fact seen production return to near-normal levels after the crises triggered by demonetization, the 2018 floods and the two-year COVID pandemic. One of the main challenges now facing the industry is the availability of raw materials. The industry has urged the government to encourage the planting of softwoods and the replanting of rubber trees. In terms of job creation, it is estimated that the plywood industry in Kerala directly employed around 50,000 people.

The suspension of the employment contracts of several thousand foreign workers by the Cameroon authorities (African, Chinese and European). They were ordered to obtain work permits and pay taxes within one month, or leave the country. Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Cameroon's Minister of Employment and Vocational Training, estimates that foreign workers have deprived Cameroon of over 25 million US dollars since January of this year.

In Ghana, the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. National Black Chamber of Commerce at the Business Expo. Trade between Ghana and the United States reached a record $3.7 billion in 2022, with a favorable trade balance for Ghana. The country's exports to the U.S. in 2022 amounted to $2.7 billion, while imports from the U.S. totaled $1.0 billion. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce website states that the exhibition will provide an overview of the current U.S.-Ghana trade relationship, highlighting successes, identifying potential areas for growth and outlining strategies to encourage further collaboration with integrated business-to-business meetings between Ghanaian and U.S. companies.

In Indonesia, the launch of the carbon exchange set for the end of September by the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority (OJK), Mahendra Siregar. For now, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights is in the process of publishing the OJK's regulations on the carbon exchange.

The publication by the Federal Official Gazette of a tender notice for sustainable forest management and use concessions for the Irati National Forest (Floresta Nacional - FLONA) in the state of Paraná, southern Brazil. The Irati FLONA was created in 1986 and covers 3,800 hectares in the Atlantic Forest biome. It has been included in the federal government's Investment Partnership Program (PPI) and can now be commercially exploited, with the possibility of replacing exotic species, such as pines, with native species like araucaria. The sale of the pine, which is not native to the area, will benefit the region economically, bring social benefits and improve sustainability. The forest concession aims to revitalize the forest through the sale of timber not native to the Atlantic Forest, and to promote sustainable management of the Irati National Forest.

Eliminating cluttered areas of old wooden houses in Tokyo. By 2020, Tokyo authorities have estimated that there will be around 8,600 hectares of cluttered old wooden houses, many of which would suffer severe damage in the event of a major earthquake. The aim is to reduce the areas where old wooden houses are concentrated to zero by 2040, in anticipation of a major earthquake hitting the capital.

In China, increased imports of tropical hardwood sawn timber. Of total hardwood lumber imports, tropical hardwood lumber imports accounted for 3.26 million cubic meters at a value of US$948 million, up 3% in volume but down 1% in value, and represented around 23% of the national total in the first half of 2023. Thailand has been China's main supplier of tropical hardwood sawn timber (mainly rubberwood) for many years. China's sawnwood imports from Thailand in the first half of 2023 rose by 3% to 2.07 million cubic meters valued at US$504 million, up 1% in volume terms on the same period of 2022, and accounted for 64% of the country's total imports of tropical hardwood sawnwood.

U.S. manufacturing contracted in July for the ninth consecutive month, according to the country's procurement officials in the latest ISM report on manufacturing activity. ISM's manufacturing PMI rose slightly in July but remained at depressed levels, indicating little improvement on the industrial side of the economy. Timothy R. Fiore, chairman of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said that "the U.S. manufacturing sector contracted again, but the rise in the PMI index indicates a slightly lower rate of contraction, and the July composite index reflects the fact that companies are struggling with weak new orders." The furniture and related products sector was one of only two to record growth in July. The other 16 sectors surveyed all reported contractions for the month.

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