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TIMBER MARKET GENERAL

Wood is one of the most valuable raw materials per se. Its multifunctionality renders it suitable for use as material for furniture and craftsmen, as building material, as a source of energy and as an ecosystem and climate regulator. As opposed to many other raw materials, wood is also renewable. It is one of today’s most important natural resources from both the economic and ecological points of view. Experts maintain that the demand for timber is growing apace with the global population and is therefore set to rise significantly also over the long term.

As shown in an analysis and confirmed by the prospects of global demand for tropical hardwood, the demand increased by more than 25% between 1994 and 2010, thus more than indicated in the forecast of the 2002 International Forestry Review. The market share of tropical hardwood in the form of industrial logs was 15% in 1999.

The appetite for raw materials in emerging market countries like China and India is increasing the demand even further. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that the demand for wood just in China is set to increase by more than 50 percent by 2050. The Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) expects the global demand for logs to double, reaching approximately 800 million cubic meters by 2030. The HWWI report “Climate change – Strategy 2030” forecasts that “the prices for wood as a raw material are in a phase of sustained increase”.
 
Not surprising, given that a hectare of systematically managed tropical teak plantation with 800 to 1100 teak trees will produce no more than about 15 to 17 m3 of timber per annum.

The “Timberland Investments” sector also reflects the rosy prospects of the timber market. Retrospective analyses show that financial investment in timber will generate average returns in excess of 12% to 15%, at lower risk than traditional classes of investment.

(Source: Hancock Timber Resource Group)

Global wood consumption

Price trend for tropical timber

Price trend of teak

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