Central/West Africa: Log ban comes into effect

  • May 25, 2010
  • • Source: ITTO's Tropical Timber Market Report
  • • Views: 1450
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The log export ban in Gabon takes effect as planned from midnight on 15th May. This puts an end to speculation about when the ban would come into force. Producers and traders in the region will now have to adapt to the new market conditions.
The situation is causing some unrest among the labour unions that this will inevitably lead to unemployment in the timber industry. According to reports, the port workers are already taking strike action and reports suggest that other labour unions are also considering similar action.

In the meanwhile, the industry is determining how to proceed given the current conditions in the sawn and processing markets. It is clear that current sawn lumber prices may have to rise in line with the recent surge in log prices. Exporters of further processed products have experienced even more difficult market conditions this year, as shown by the decline in exports of processed products from Ghana in particular, as well as from other West African producers.

Producers in Gabon say that much of their logging and transport equipment will be made redundant by the log export ban. For some, this would be around 50% of their total logging bulldozers and log haulers.
Local transport companies including the railways are expected to be hard hit by the removal of 1million tonnes of annual freight.
Although it is not possible for the time being to quantify any changes in log prices, some species such as okume, okan and tali have already experienced increasing prices before the ban.
The producers and traders in the region are now adapting to the new market conditions and planning their future production and market strategies. The log importing countries will also have to determine how to adapt to the reduced availability of logs from W. Africa.

Prices difficult to determine
Most of the very active log trading in the West and Central African region is centred in Cameroon and there has been frenetic bidding for all kinds of logs.
Sellers are insisting that depending on the total value of each transaction, a large proportion of the purchase price must be paid in advance and in cash. The balance is required immediately against the bills of lading.

These rather ad-hoc transaction methods make the determination of the current price levels very difficult. However, it is estimated that prices of most species are up by at least €5 - €10 per cu.m and still rising due to strong demand from buyers mainly for China and India. Also, demand in Europe is showing some slight improvement.


West Africa logs, FOB € per m³
Asian market
LM
B
BC/C
Acajou/ Khaya/N'Gollon
205
205
153 
Ayous/Obéché/Wawa
190
190
145
Azobe & Ekki
200
200
122
Belli
230
230
-
Bibolo/Dibétou
140
130

Bubinga
580
510
390
Iroko
257
250
200
Okoume (60% CI, 40% CE, 20% CS)
200
-
-
Moabi
270
270
206
Movingui
180
145
140
Niove
130
130
-
Okan
290
290
135
Padouk
350
325
235
Sapele
220
220
155
Sipo/Utile
260
240
190
Tali
250
250
114 
Okoume
C1
160
CE
150
CS
115


West Africa sawnwood, FOB
€ per m³
Ayous FAS GMS
300
Okoumé FAS GMS
370
FAS. fixed sizes
340
Std/Btr GMS
275
Sipo FAS GMS
475
FAS fixed sizes 320
FAS scantlings
490
Padouk FAS GMS
540
FAS scantlings
490
Strips
300
Sapele FAS Spanish sizes
380
FAS scantlings
460
Iroko FAS GMS
430
Scantlings
440
Strips
350
Khaya FAS GMS
380
FAS fixed
420
Maobi FAS GMS
415
Scantlings
440
Movingui FAS GMS
295
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