China’s panel export expansion continues unabated
Asia Observatory

19 December 2006

China’s panel export expansion continues unabated

The expansion of Chinese plywood and fibreboard exports in recent years is well known. China has transformed itself from a major importer to a major producer and exporter of wood-based panels over the last 10 years.
China’s woodbased panel production has been growing at around 40% a year since the mid-1990s. Production of high and middle density fibreboard (MDF) climbed 1,821% from 965,000 m3 in 1996 to 18.54 million m3 in 2005 while that of plywood jumped 413% from 4.9 million m3 to 25.15 million m3 in the same period, according to Customs statistics (see chart).
China is currently the world’s largest producer of both high and MDF, and plywood.
With the continued and rapid development of China’s wood-based panel industry, plywood imports halved to 589,000 m3 while fibreboard imports fell less markedly (down 4.7%) to 967,000 m3 between 2000 and 2005 (see chart). In contrast, Chinese exports of plywood surged 714% to 5.59 million m3 while those of fibreboard soared 3,840% to 1.379 million m3 during the same period.
In Jan-Sep 2006, exports of these products continued to grow, rising 44% to 5.91 million m3 (up 52% to $2.05 billion) and 43% to 1.49 million m3 (up 56% to $453 million) while imports fell 27% to 340,000 m3 (down 29% to $163,000) and 13% to 620,000 m3 (down 12% to $149 million), respectively.