Myanmar: Freshly harvested logs attracting buyers

ITTO's Tropical Timber Market Report
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The Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) open tenders for February will be held on the 22nd and the 25th and a report on the average log prices will appear in the next TTMR.

Analysts report that the market situation for teak and non-teak hardwoods is stable and trading is following the usual pattern for the beginning of a year. Teak logs are being sold easily but, in the case of non-teak hardwoods, only freshly harvested logs are of interest to buyers.

Logs which were harvested during past cutting seasons are not attracting buyers and can be sold only at lower prices.

In Myanmar felling and skidding are carried out during the monsoon rains from May to September and trucking takes place from late November when forest roads become dry.

If not trucked during the dry season following felling logs must be left until the next dry season a year later and such logs deteriorate and do not attract good prices.

Buyers hasten to ship out logs in anticipation of log export ban
The pace of shipments from Myanmar normally reflect the market and stock positions in the importing countries but since the announcement of a log export ban in Myanmar beginning April 2014, buyers are seeking faster shipment of the logs they have paid for.

The following is an estimation of monthly exports over the past months. The figures are in cubic metres.

  Oct Nov Dec Jan-13
Teak logs 50609 41819 53777 47390
Hardwood logs 138938 109233 110484 132439
Sawn teak 1315 742 847 1869
Sawn Hardwood 7 95 13 112
Others 938 855 932 1707

Debate on certification continues
The domestic journal ‘Newsweek’ reported on February 7th that, according to an official from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF), only verified legally harvested timber will be permitted for export from 2015. The timber industry is yet to respond to this news.

The Myanmar forestry sector has been working for several years towards a certification system for forest products and representatives from the European Commission have visited Myanmar to promote the adoption of the EU FLEGT license system.

The debate on forest and wood product certification in Myanmar has been arduous and to date no positive results have been achieved. The timber industries in Myanmar face many difficulties, with poor communication between the industry in Myanmar and authorities in the importing countries being a major constraint to achieving progress on certification.

A workshop on ‘Timber Legality Assurance Systems’ was recently conducted. Attending the workshop were representatives from the Forest Department, Myanma Timber Enterprise and the Timber Merchants Association. This workshop explored the feasibility of a timber legality verification system for the forestry sector.

Analysts assert that only through the adoption of a legality verification system can the Myanmar timber industries secure unrestricted access to markets in the main consuming countries.

Myanmar Teak Log Auction Prices (natural forest logs)
Average prices during the January 2013 Teak tender sales are shown below. Prices are in Euro, per hoppus ton.

Grade Quantity (Tons) € per ton
4th Quality 11 5039
Sawing Grade-1 21 3426
Sawing Grade-2 51 2805
Sawing Grade-4 218 2526
Sawing Grade-5 92 1823
Sawing Grade-6 118 1678
Sawing Grade-7 74 1366

Hoppus ton=1.8m³; All grades, except SG-3/5/6, are length 8' x girth 5' &up. SG-3/4/6 are girth 4' &up. SG-3 grade is higher than SG-4 but with lower girth and price.
Prices differ due to quality or girth at the time of the transaction.

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