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Beech exports to China 11% below preceding year

05.01.2019 − 

According to calculations of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), in the third quarter of 2018 German beech lumber exports to China declined by 11% vis à vis last year to 38,227m³. This therefore confirms reports of restrained export business to China by timber trading companies active in exports to China. In many cases, exports to China were restricted to long-term contracts directly with processors. In summer, some exporters had reported that Chinese retailers had significantly reduced their purchasing. In addition to high stock levels at retailers, however, the business environment for importers has also changed significantly. Unlike processors directly supplied from Europe, retailers have lost a significant proportion of their customer base due to the closure of - in many cases smaller - plants over the course of the last twelve months. Closure of smaller production locations had commenced in the second half of 2017 after Chinese authorities significantly intensified monitoring of production and environmental licenses.

With regard to the current decline in beech lumber exports to China, however, the basis of comparison is also to be taken into consideration. The volume of 43,172m³ recorded in the comparative quarter of the preceding year represents a higher-than-average export volume. In the third quarters of 2016, at 33,197m³, 2015 at 34,996m³, 2014, at 34,124m³, and 2013, at 32.141m³, significantly lower volumes of beech lumber had been exported to China both in comparison with 2017 as well as with the current Destatis export figures.

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