Japan’s March 2019 plywood imports dropped below 150,000 cubic metres, a record low. Plywood demand remains firm and more of the domestic demand is being met from domestic production from domestic raw materials as well as imported veneer. Year-on-year March import volumes were 13% down and month-on-month March imports fell a massive 24%. Compared to the 1Q 2018 plywood imports fell 6% in the 1Q 2019, as ITTO reported.
As usual, the top three suppliers Malaysia, Indonesia and China continued to dominate plywood imports but all three saw March shipments drop. Shipments from Malaysia and Indonesia, the two biggest suppliers, fell 26% year-on-year in March 2019 and shipments from China were also down 10% year-on-year.
More startling was the month-on-month shipments from all three main suppliers with China witnessing a 60% decline only just beating the 64% decline in shipments from Vietnam which was beginning to gain market share.