Media reports suggest that the Ministry of Forestry is considering lifting the timber logs for sale export ban to provide an incentive for the further development of industrial plantations. The log export ban has been in effect since 2001 but the Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires (APHI) has said the ban has resulted in a marked decline in log prices.
Current market prices for plantation logs are in the region of US$30-40 per cubic metre, significantly lower than the regional average because plantation owners can only sell in logs on the domestic market where fierce competition has driven down prices.
Under the present conditions there is little incentive to invest in forest plantations. The Ministry of Forestry plans to create the conditions for a viable international trade in Indonesian plantation timbers so that its target for annual plantation establishment of 500,000 hectares of industrial forests can be achieved.
In 2011 only 374,000 ha of new plantations were established, around 75% of the government target and in 2012 only about 400,000 ha were established.
SVLK to assure legality of export logs
One of the main reasons for the implementation of the log export ban was to help eliminate illegal logging. However, conditions in Indonesia are now very different as the country has a rigorous timber legality verification system (SVLK) which is providing Indonesian exporters with greater access to markets where proof of legality is demanded.
In related news, the government is planning to extend the moratorium on forest clearance, introduced following an agreement between Indonesia and Norway on assistance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation in Indonesia.
Green Peace in Indonesia, while welcoming the extension of the moratorium on forest conversion, expressed concern that a lifting of the log export ban could result in an increase in illegal logging.
To open or not, the mining concession debate in Aceh Province
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Ministry of Forestry has approved plans by the Aceh administration to open around 1 million hectares of forests for mining prospecting; 400,000 hectares for logging; and 250,000 hectares for conversion to oil palm plantations.
News of this resulted in immediate calls from NGOs and others for the decision to be withdrawn. Media reports say Gracia Paramitha, the United Nations Environment Program, Tunza Global Youth Advisor, said
“1.2 million hectares of protected forests in Aceh had been converted into industrial plantations”, adding that this figure was already too high.
This week, East Asia Minerals said in a press release (http://archive.is/taeU6) „the Ministry of Forestry is close to accepting a proposal to open 1.2 million hectares of forest in Aceh province for mining, logging, and palm oil production”.
The CEO of East Asia Minerals was quoted in the press release as saying "We are very pleased with the recent news from the Indonesian Government. These new developments are good progress and positive
news for mineral extraction in the area. This will help us realize the full value of our Miwah gold project in Aceh with a forecast resource of 3.1 million ounces of gold."
Policies needed to unlock economic benefits of urban agglomerations
Indonesia‟s economy grew throughout 2012, but the World Bank‟s March 2013 edition of the Indonesia Economic Quarterly (IEQ) notes that domestic economic and policy pressures are mounting. GDP growth for 2012 was 6.2 percent, down slightly from 6.5 percent in 2011. The World Bank forecasts a 6.2 percent growth in 2013 but warns that improving the rate of growth will be challenging.
Stefan Koeberle, the World Bank Country Director for Indonesia said “With the right policies in place, Indonesia could move growth higher, harnessing the forces of urbanization and rising incomes, while providing quality jobs for a growing labour force.”
The biggest risk to short-term growth will be a drop in domestic investment which recently slowed, in the capitalintensive resource sectors. The Bank says the investment climate would benefit from improved certainty in the regulatory environment.
Investment is also crucially needed in infrastructure which continues to constrain growth, causing bottlenecks and high logistics costs. Infrastructure investment remains at around 3 to 4 percent of GDP, compared with pre-Asian crisis levels of around 7 percent.
The infrastructure challenge for many of Indonesia‟s cities is particularly acute - more than half of Indonesia‟s population live in urban areas, and the pace of urbanization remains high. Improving the level, quality and efficiency of infrastructure investment can help to unlock the economic benefits of urban agglomerations and support the quality of service delivery, particularly in mid-size cities that lag behind smaller urban centres and the “mega-cities”.
For the World Bank press release see:
Domestic Log Prices
|Indonesia logs, domestic prices||US$ per m³|
Face and core logs
|Mahoni (plantation mahogany)||150-230|
Domestic Ex-mill Sawnwood Prices
|Indonesia, construction material, domestic||US$ per m³|
Export Plywood Prices
|Indonesia ply MR BB/CC, export FOB||US$ per m³|
Domestic Plywood Prices
|MR Plywood (Jakarta), domestic||US$ per m³|
Export and Domestic Other Panel Prices
|Indonesia, Other Panels, FOB||US$ per m³|
Export Added Value Product Prices
|Indonesia, Mouldings, FOB||US$ per m³|
|Red Meranti Mouldings 11x68/92mm x 7ft up