Pulp and woodchips battle for export share in Asian market

Issues with key regional woodchip suppliers, plus surge in Brazilian pulp exports, could tip balance going forward.

BOSTON, April 5, 2016 (Press Release) – Asian woodchip trade volume hit record highs in 2015, for the sixth straight year, but issues with top exporters like Vietnam and Indonesia could potentially limit fiber availability over the next several years. The scramble to close a possible Asian supply gap has global implications. This and other critical trade issues are explored by International Pulpwood Trade Review 2016, released today by RISI, the leading information provider for the global forest products industry.

“More than half of Asian hardwood chip purchases are from Southeast Asia, but maintaining a sustainable flow of pulpwood fiber from the region is becoming more challenging,” said Bob Flynn, Director of International Timber at RISI and co-author of the report. “Government policy shifts in Vietnam and forest health problems in some countries, especially Indonesia, could change the mix for big Asian producers.

“Alternative sources of woodchip exports to the region have rebounded, and Brazilian pulp will be in a strong position. Market share shifts are inevitable, but who benefits most is an open question – and so is the impact on pricing,” continued Flynn.

Woodchip imports to Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and India were 92% hardwood in 2015. This was enough fiber for their paper companies to produce 10.8 million tonnes of hardwood pulp. Tellingly, pulp imports by those countries almost equaled their appetite for chips, with a volume of 10.4 million tonnes of hardwood pulp imported in 2015.

“Supply constraints and strong demand have already reversed a decline in Australian woodchip exports, especially to China. We see China surpassing Japan as the top hardwood chip importer in 2016,” said Flynn. “We do expect woodchip import demand growth to slow markedly in the years ahead, due to competition from market pulp, but 2016 is again likely to see a new record volume of woodchip imports.”

International Pulpwood Trade Review 2016, offered as part of the International Pulpwood Trade Service, is an essential tool for the international trade of woodchips, pulplogs, and biomass fiber. This annual report examines the markets for globally traded pulpwood fiber and the pulpwood resources for domestic and export supply in more than 35 countries.

Included in the 23rd edition:

  • Global woodchip trade forecast 2016-2020.
  • Detailed information on recent changes to export woodchip and biomass supply.
  • Analysis of pulplog and woodchip import markets, including the Pacific Rim and Atlantic Region markets.
  • Trends in woodchip prices.
  • Updated analysis of international trade in biomass chips and pellets.
  • Direct contact details for woodchip and pulp log suppliers and buyers in the Pacific and Atlantic markets.
  • Profiles of more than 70 woodchip export facilities around the world, including volumes and species of each export chip supplier, main purchasers and end-users and outlook for supply.
  • A complete list of woodchip carriers by age, size, owner and charterer.
  • Monthly updates on Asian woodchip markets, including volumes and prices.

For more information on this study, please visit www.risi.com/IPTR16

About RISI (www.risi.com)

RISI is the leading information provider for the global forest products industry. The company works with clients in the pulp and paper, packaging, wood products, timber, biomass, tissue and nonwovens industries to help them make better decisions.

Headquartered in Boston, MA, RISI operates additional offices throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.




For Press Inquiries, please contact:
Alan Petrillo
Communications Associate
O: +1.781.778.7592
E: apetrillo@risi.com

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