Asia Pacific pulpwood report

Annual analysis of the Asia Pacific trade in pulpwood chips. The report provides historical supply, demand, and price information and forecasts with a five year time horizon.

What's included in this report?

  • Market overview - including trade matrices for softwood and hardwood chips.
  • Hardwood chip demand - by country (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, and India). Wood chip imports by origin since 2005. Main chip consumers, by location, pulp grade, capacity and degree of integration. Pulp production trends and new capacity plans.
  • Hardwood chip supply - by country (Vietnam, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile). A description of the plantation resource and roundwood harvest, by species and end use sector. Leading wood chip suppliers, and potential future export availability.
  • Wood chip price trends and drivers - impact on pulp production costs, differentiating between dissolving, kraft, high yield, integrated and market pulp.
  • Outlook for chip demand and supply - based on plantation resource development, pulp production trends, and pulp & bioenergy market dynamics.
  • Outlook for chip prices

The Outlook for pulpwood supply and demand in the Asian Pacific Rim, June 2022

May 27, 2022, 15:32 PM
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Additional report details

Global seaborne chip trade was 27.5 million BDMT in 2021, of which 25.1 million was hardwood species and 2.4 million was softwood.

Around 92% of hardwood chips are used to make BHKP and HYP which is used in the manufacture of paper, board, and tissue products. Around 6% goes into DWP, which is used to make viscose staple fibre for textiles, whilst around 2% is consumed by biomass power generators in Japan. Softwood chips are shipped to Japan and China where they are used to make UKP and semi-chemical pulp for packaging board.

Although there are around 5 million ha of plantation areas in China, the majority are owned by individual tree farmers or state owned tree farms. This structure of ownership combined with complex forest policies have prevented pulp and paper companies from developing viable local pulpwood supplies, even where growing conditions and yields are good. As a result, hardwood chip imports to China have grown more or less in line with pulp production over the past fifteen years.

Since 2020 Chinese paper companies have announced very ambitious plans to install more chemical and high yield pulp lines which will be integrated with both existing - and new - paper and tissue capacity. The investments are supported by the Chinese government, and partly motivated by the desire to replace recycled fibre imports since the full implementation of National Sword policy by 2021. However, they are not in response to Chinese paper and board demand, which is maturing along with many other sectors of the economy.

Vietnam has been able to satisfy most of the growth in imported chip demand, steadily growing its market share in both China, Japan, and Korea. However, Vietnam is now reaching it’s maximum export potential just when Chinese demand for wood is accelerating. Chip supplies from more distant locations such as Australia, South Africa, and Latin America are less competitive and peaked some years ago.

Although Chinese paper companies seek to increase self-sufficiency in raw materials, they also operate in a competitive global industry, and continue to prioritise profitability and cashflow in the short-term.

The looming deficit in pulpwood is becoming increasingly evident, and chip prices are rising as a result, impacting the competitive position of both Chinese and Japanese paper producers.

Why choose Hawkins Wright?

We provide strategic, forecasting, marketing intelligence and business information services to the international forest products and bioenergy industries 

  • Independant and unbiased - we do not manufacture, trade or broker and forest products so are able to offer wholly-unbiased opinion
  • Decades of experience - With a sector knowledge base since 1982
  • Industry dialogue - we regularly talk to a global network of industry figures
  • Personal approach - much more than providing market data, we can adapt to your changing needs, offering calls and face-to-face meetings
We analyse the wood chip sector in the context of the wider paper and fibre markets, drawing on our pulp production cost and pricing data and global fibre demand model
Tom Wright, Report Lead Author
Hawkins Wright

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