Key export markets of the timber industry in 2023

Almost a year and a half has passed since the timber industry has been operating under the fifth package of EU sanctions, which banned the supply of Russian timber, plywood, wood boards and pellets. At the end of 2023, the Russian Federation reduced the export of wood and lumber by 7% - to 25 million m3.

More than half of all exports this year went to China, where lumber demand and prices have been under pressure due to problems in the local construction sector. At the same time, the export of processed wood approached last year’s figures - 21–22 million m3.

The largest increase in supplies occurred in the following countries:

  • Turkey - the figure increased 2.3 times, to 280 thousand m3;
  • The UAE increased imports by 64%, to 490 thousand m3;
  • Hong Kong - by 43%, up to 600 thousand m3;
  • Kyrgyzstan - by 40%, up to 418 thousand m3.

At the end of 2023, the list of main trading partners is as follows:

  • In first place is China, where about 12 million m3 of lumber were sent: exports of lumber to China increased by 3%;
  • Uzbekistan took second place among importers - more than 2 million m3 with an increase of approximately 5%;
  • Kazakhstan closes the top three - over 1.1 million m3 with an increase of 21%.

Last year, in addition to China and Uzbekistan, Finland was in the top three (in 2023, supplies to this country stopped completely). Next came Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, then Estonia and Belarus, which dropped out. The top ten was completed by Singapore, Tajikistan and Hong Kong.

Market participants note that the problem in 2023 was the stagnation of prices on the domestic market (they have not grown since June), as well as weak export demand and a 10% drop in prices on foreign markets (from summer levels), which experts predicted based on the results of the first half of 2023.

At the same time, in the past year, the problems of sending container trains with lumber to China have been largely resolved: a multimodal transportation service through St. Petersburg is being developed, in which both Russian and Chinese carriers are actively participating. In the summer-autumn period, shipments through the Northern Sea Route increased.