What a Russian log export ban could mean

Wednesday 26 May 2021

(Jamie Gray, NZ Herald, 26 March) New Zealand forest owners look set to benefit if Russia goes ahead with its ban on log exports but, for local sawmillers, it could be a different story. Russia exported 15 million cubic metres of logs in 2020, accounting for almost 12 per cent of globally traded roundwood, but much of this trade may come to a halt in 2022 if a proposed ban goes ahead.

A ban would be the culmination of efforts by Russia to disincentivise the export of logs, through tariffs, to promote local industry. Russia - which is home to 15 per cent of global wood resources - will strive to process the logs domestically into lumber and other forest products.

Forestry economist Glen O'Kelly, who heads up Sweden-based consultancy O'Kelly Acumen, said Russia had been a leading log exporter for decades but that this could come to an end in 2022. He said a ban would have immediate impact on global trade flows of logs and lumber and China will be forced to explore new supply regions.

O'Kelly, a Kiwi and New Zealand forestry owner, said a ban was likely to result in more competition on the New Zealand domestic sawlog market, as Chinese buyers need to replace the logs they will no longer be able to import from Russia.

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Source: NZ Herald

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