Increased earnings from log exports and plywood

Japan, which is the No. 1 export market for Sarawak plywood products, bought 47,971 cu m (RM98.85 million), which represents about 55 percent of the state’s total shipment.

KUCHING: Sarawak’s foreign exchange earnings from log exports and plywood have gone up in October from September 2019.

In October, Sarawak sharply raised the log exports volume to about 88,908 cubic meters with free on board (FOB) value of about RM49.74 million as compared to 56,121 cu m worth RM44.84 million in September.

The state’s export volume of plywood increased to 87,737 cu m valued at RM169.81 million, which compared favourably with 86,263 cu m valued at RM164 million month-on-months, according to the latest monthly figures from Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC).

The sharp increase in the exported volume of logs in October was mainly contributed by the shipment of plantation logs -acacia mangium – which amounted to 35,595 cu m worth RM9.76 million – to Indonesia. There were no exports of acacia mangium in September.

 Plantation logs are worth less in value than key timber species from natural forests.

India is the key importer of Sarawak logs,absorbing 41,893 cu m worth RM31.3 million in October, which, however, was lower from 45,247 cu m valued at RM36.1 million in September.

Other buyers of Sarawak logs are Taiwan,which imported 3,951 cu m worth RM3.19 million (2019 September:0), Japan 1,810 cu m worth RM1.62 million (6,705 cu m worth RM5.41 million),Vietnam 1.130 cu m worth RM601,350 (4,168 cu m worth RM3.33 million) and China 4,541 cu m for RM3.27 million (0).

In the first 10 months of 2019, Sarawak exported about 1.08 million cu m of logs with FOB value of RM596.57 million. The top timber species exported is meranti worth RM239.6 million, followed by acacia mangium valued at RM108.3 million.

Due to reduced productions, Sarawak’s export earnings from logs have fallen drastically over the years – from RM2.02 billion in 2014 (full year) to RM1.78 billion in 2015 to RM1.4 billion in 2016.The export revenue in 2017 was RM1.21 billion and this was down to RM771,000 in 2018,according to STIDC statistics.

On Sarawak’s plywood exports, Japan remains as the top importing country, buying 59,450 cu m worth RM122 million in October which was significantly higher than 47,972 cu m valued at RM98.85 million in September.

 Taiwan came in second and imported 7,748 cu m for RM11.69 million (2019 September: 8,197 cu m worth RM12.68 million) and third top buyer is Korea which imported 5,937 cu m for RM9.76 million (5,666 cu m for RM9.21 million).

 Sarawak exported plywood to 23 countries, including Asean member nations and the Middle East. 

During the January-October period, the state has earned about RM1.93 billion in foreign exchange in the export of 942,685 cu m of plywood products. Sarawak’s export earnings from plywood have also dropped over the years, from RM3.9 billion in 2014 to RM3.03 billion in 2018 due mainly to tight supply of logs.

STIDC statistics shown that sawn timber is Sarawak’s second most important exported timber product. In October, the state shipped out 23,911 cu m worth RM39.14 million (September: 30, 651 cu m valued at RM59.1 million) to 17 overseas markets.