Africa: EUTR might trigger negative attitudes towards tropical timber in EU

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ITTO
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Producers report that demand from European buyers remains very quiet with not a hint of the usual autumn up-tick in purchases. Overall, exporters in West Africa are not at all optimistic on prospects for any growth in demand in EU markets. Current demand in northern Europe is heavily concentrated on ayous, sipo and sapele sawnwood.

The slow response of some EU members to enforcement of the EUTR is attracting the attention of green activists who seem set to put pressure on authorities to ensure stricter adherence to the regulation. News such as this further dampens the enthusiasm of both producers and importers who believed the EUTR would unwind the negative attitudes to tropical timber in the EU.

Trade with Middle East countries is strong and okoume sawnwood continues to be the favourite such that demand is supporting okoume prices at moderately high levels. The price conscious Middle East buyers are beginning to show some interest in a mix of heavier density species, say analysts.

Regional round-up

Infrastructure developments in Congo Brazzaville, focused on improving roads and ports in order to facilitate exports of timber and other products, are forging ahead. There is particular emphasis on opening access to the more remote northern areas.

In Gabon reports say that, because of financial constraints, the government has halted work on many development projects. This news has further dampened prospects for a speedy solution to the refunding of the TVA to timber exporters and means they continue to suffer cash flow problems. Reports continue to stress ongoing problems at Douala Port where there has been little progress in clearing the stocks of logs awaiting shipment.

The logistics of identifying and sorting the logs is a challenge, made especially complex because there is a need to re grade and reject logs that have deteriorated while in the log park.

Producers content to see calm market conditions continue

Over the past month traded volumes have settled at reasonable levels and, although there are occasional rumours of a possible downturn in demand in China, producers are not experiencing any slackening of demand from buyers for the Chinese market.

The calm and steady market conditions are set to remain into the fourth quarter with prices for logs and sawnwood firm but unlikely to rise further. Producers appear confident of stability in demand through the coming months and are carefully matching production to the current demand.

World Bank assess economic impact of Ebola

The Ebola epidemic is already seriously disrupt ing trade in the three most affected countries and, if not contained, could have a major impact on trade and economic growth across West Africa.

The World Bank has released an assessment of the possible economic impact of the epidemic saying: “With the latest death toll from Ebola now at 3,439 in the three worst-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone if the epidemic was to significantly infect people in neighboring countries, some of which have much larger economies, the two-year regional financial impact could reach US$32.6 billion by the end of 2015 ”.

The new World Bank Group report notes, “as it is far from certain that the epidemic will be fully contained by December 2014 and in light of the considerable uncertainty about its future trajectory, two alternative scenarios are used to estimate the medium-term (2015) impact of the epidemic, extending to the end of calendar year 2015.”

According to the World Bank Group's new analysis, the economic impacts of Ebola are already very serious in the core three countries–particularly Liberia and Sierra Leon – and could become catastrophic if containment fails.

Log Export Prices

West Africa logs, FOB € per m³
Asian market
LM
B
BC/C
Acajou/ Khaya/N'Gollon
230
230
160
Ayous/Obéché/Wawa
235
235
155
Azobe & Ekki
235
230
150
Belli 300 295
-
Bibolo/Dibétou
150
145
 
Iroko 330
290
260
Okoume (60% CI, 40% CE, 20% CS) (China only) 340 340 260
Moabi 320 300 220
Movingui 210
210
160
Niove
160
155
-
Okan
290
285
-
Padouk
300
275
210
Sapele 350 350 250
Sipo/Utile
375
375
250
Tali 320 320
-

                                                                                                                                              Sawnwood Export Prices

West Africa sawnwood, FOB
€ per m³
Ayous FAS GMS 360
Bilinga FAS GMS 520
Okoumé FAS GMS
480
Merchantable 275
Std/Btr GMS 350
Sipo FAS GMS
660
FAS fixed sizes 660
FAS scantlings 670
Padouk FAS GMS 820
FAS scantlings 870
Strips 500
Sapele FAS Spanish sizes 675
FAS scantlings 670
Iroko FAS GMS 620
Scantlings 695
Strips
440
Khaya FAS GMS
450
FAS fixed
470
Maobi FAS GMS
580
Scantlings
560
Movingui FAS GMS
420
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