Russia may ban log exports by 2022

In a recent speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to strictly control the export of logs and low-value forest products and to ban the illegal trade in logs (in its words, “severely crack down on the legalization of the industry”). He also requested that “the export of unprocessed or rough-cut coniferous and valuable broadleaf timber out of Russia shall be prohibited by 1 January 2022″. The statement will show that lower value hardwood logs, such as birch pulp logs exported to Finland, may be excluded from future export bans.

To encourage domestic processing of Russian timber, President Putin also hopes to implement a government subsidized loan scheme to invest in wood processing facilities, mainly in Siberia and the Far East of Russia, aiming at the growing timber market in Asia. These industrial loans will be used for the production of timber and boards and will be issued to wood grain manufacturers, which mainly use small-diameter timber as raw materials.

If the log ban is issued, Russia will end its long-term role as one of the world’s largest exporters of coniferous logs. For decades, the country has exported large quantities of timber, mainly to forest products manufacturers in Asia and Europe. The export volume of needle leaf logs in Russia reached a peak of 37million m3 in 2006, but after the implementation of export tariff of logs in 2008, the export volume decreased significantly, and dropped to only 8.5 million m3 in 2019 (see the figure below).

According to the Quarterly Journal of wood resources, this downward trend will continue in 2020, and the export volume is expected to be only 6million m3. In the first half of 2020, most shipments are shipped to China (about 75 per cent) and Finland (10 per cent).

The export volume of hardwood logs in Russia has fluctuated from 7 million to 8million m3 in the past five years, but if higher value logs such as oak and wax wood are banned, this data may decline in the next two years.

In the past five years, China has purchased about 10-12 million m3 of coniferous and broad-leaved logs from Russia every year. If the ban on log export is officially issued, it will have a significant impact on the supply of wood raw materials and processed products to China in the future, which may be a more troublesome situation, as China’s forest product consumption is expected to increase.


Post time: Jul-20-2021

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