Friday, October 23

S’wak timber export declines first quarter of 2020 due to Covid-19, market shifting to higher value products

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Sarawak recorded a decline of 11 per cent in its timber industry for January to March 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, according to a statement from Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) general manager Hashim Bojet. – File photo

KUCHING: Sarawak recorded a decline of 11 per cent in its timber industry for January to March 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, according to a statement from Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) general manager Hashim Bojet.

In monetary terms, as of January till March 2020, Sarawak only earned RM1.1 billion from its timber export compared to RM1.3 billion over the same period of time last year, he said in a statement today.

“The decline in the state’s timber product export is caused by two factors – the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to the current global economy, and the market demand is shifting to higher value products,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hashim said plywood remains the state’s main timber product export, where the total export value from January to March 2020 is at RM645 million, whereas for 2019 over the same period was at RM713 million, a decline of about 9.5 per cent.

Export of logs accounted for the second highest for the first quarter of this year, valued at RM143 million, followed by sawn timber (RM128 million), fiber boards (RM73 million) and wood chips (RM61 million), he said.

On that note, he said Japan remained Sarawak’s biggest importer of plywood valued at RM433 for the first quarter of 2020. India is Sarawak’s biggest importer of logs while the Middle East is the main importer of Sarawak’s sawed timber, he added.

“Japan remains the main market for Sarawak timber products as a whole for the first quarter of 2020 with total export worth RM565 million.

“This is however a decline of 14 per cent compared to 2019 over the same period which was valued at RM661 million,” said Hashim.

He said Sarawak’s four other biggest timber markets for the first quarter of 2020 are Middle East at RM155 million compared to RM111 million in the first quarter of 2019, India at RM85 million compared to RM104 million in 2019, Taiwan at RM72 million compared to 70 million in 2019 and South Korea at RM58 million compared to RM69 million in 2019.