Latin American wood chip exports reach record high

| January 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

Historically, between 80-90 percent of the exported wood chips from Latin America

Troy Media – by Hakan Ekstrom

Wood chip exports from Latin America are on track to reach a record high of almost eight million tons in 2011, which would be an increase of seven per cent from last year and of almost 60 per cent higher than in 2006.

Chile is by far the biggest exporter, accounting for two-thirds of the total shipments from the continent, while Brazil and Uruguay both account for about 16 percent each. In 2011, Chile was the world’s second largest supplier of hardwood chips after Vietnam.

Latin America’s hardwood chip export volumes accounted for approximately 50 per cent of globally traded wood chips, a share that has grown from 34 per cent five years ago.

Historically, between 80-90 percent of the exported wood chips from Latin America have been destined for Japanese pulp mills, but there has been a diversification of consumers over the past few years. Although shipments to Japan have gone up by over 30 per cent from 2006, the share of total exports has declined and is currently around 70 per cent.

The biggest change from five years ago is that pulp mills in Europe have been buying much more Eucalyptus chip, particularly from Chile and Uruguay. In 2011, total shipments to Europe reached almost 1.7 million tons, which was slightly lower than 2010 but more than a doubling from 2009. The three major importing countries in Europe are Spain, Portugal and Norway. In addition, there have also been a few shipments to Finnish and Swedish pulp mills the past few years.

New destinations for Eucalyptus chips from Latin America the past five years include Morocco, Turkey and China. There are expectations that Chile will increase its shipments to China in the coming years because of higher demand from new pulp mills in the country.

Global timber market reporting is included in the 52-­page quarterly publication Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, established in 1988 and with subscribers in over 25 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, lumber and pellet prices and market developments in most key regions around the world. To subscribe to the WRQ, please go to www.woodprices.com.

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