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Central/West Africa: Asian tropical wood buyers slowly returning

Publisher willwood | DATE 2020.08.18

It has been reported that buyers for the Chinese and other Asian markets are slowly returning. The current emphasis is on a few species such as ovangkol, okan and belli. There is a steady but low demand for okoume, iroko, sapelli movingui, dabeme and padauk.
Buyers for the Chinese market are looking for okoume, ovangkol, belli and sapelli, reportedly for the furniture sector. Producers say, despite the buyer interest, prices are stable which is seen as a good sign in these tough trading conditions.
Buyers in the Philippines concentrate on okoume and for this market there has been some welcome interest. Tali is the favourite of Vietnam but recently there has been interest in padauk,belli and dabema.
The South African market has not yet shown signs of recovery as the pandemic is taking its toll on manufacturing output in the country. The South African market for finger jointed okoume has weakened. The interest of South African importers in door fabrication in Gabon appears to be still alive and negotiations are ongoing.
Purchases for the Middle East markets are slow, say producers and demand is well below pre-pandemic levels.
This market is very price conscious and there are reports that low priced timbers from Russia are gaining market share.
There is a good market for okoume and sapelli sawnwood in Egypt but the payment process for imports into the country is said to be complicated with all transactions having to secure Central Bank approval which causes delays.

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