Roslesinforg calculated, based on 2021 data, that $6 billion worth of products fell under sanctions in the Russian timber industry complex (TIC). According to WhatWood agency, the EU ban on deliveries affected at least $3.8 billion of timber products. Experts warn that the stagnation of construction in the country will prevent redirecting all products to China, and it will not be possible to sell them in China at prices comparable to European ones, Kommersant writes.
According to Roslesinforg’s calculations, countries “unfriendly” to Russia last year accounted for 45.8% of the total volume of timber exports, 75% of which were delivered to European countries. Another 9% of deliveries that may stop due to sanctions fell on America, which also prepared, following Europe, but has not yet adopted a new package of measures, which includes timber products.
In 2021, Russian companies exported products worth $1.6 billion to the Western market. According to WhatWood estimates, the bulk of foreign supplies are sawn timber ($1.4 billion) and plywood ($0.8 billion). The largest buyers of Russian forest products subject to restrictions in the European Union are Finland, Germany, Estonia and the Netherlands. In reality, the loss figures may be higher, according to the agency.
On April 8, the European Union imposed a ban on imports from Russia: wood and wood products, charcoal, wood pulp, kraft paper and some types of kraft cardboard, as well as furniture and its parts.
In addition to the import ban, the European Union introduced a ban on the export of certain forest products to Russia. The list includes some types of lumber, wood-based panels, plywood, paper and cardboard. The ban on exports to Russia of melamine resins, phenolic resins, polyurethanes, which are used to produce binders for the wood-based panel segment and glued wood products, will also have a strong impact on the Russian timber industry, WhatWood notes.
In addition, the export ban from the EU includes products of machine and machine tools for the forestry industry.
WhatWood believes that it is unlikely that Russian exporters will be able to quickly and fully redirect the entire volume of banned forest products to the Chinese market.
Firstly, now China is under strict quarantine restrictions, the real estate sector is stagnating, therefore, there is very weak demand for building materials.
Secondly, it will definitely not work to sell niche products from a narrow segment to China, which were sent to the EU countries, as well as to the UK, USA, Australia, at comparable prices without a discount and in full. This applies primarily to Russian birch plywood, dry larch lumber for further processing, pellets.
In addition, WhatWood notes, China is not the market that is ready to buy forest products from Russia at a high price.