Timber exports likely to hit RM23 billion this year, says minister
Food & Beverages
Malaysia’s exports of timber and timber products can reach RM23 billion this year, following the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines, primary industries minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said today. He said the ministry, through the Malaysia Timber Industry Board and Malaysian Timber Council, would strive to ensure the local wood-based industry will remain competitive in both the domestic and global markets. “The ministry is confident the export performance is able to achieve RM23 billion in 2021 especially with the availability of vaccines which are expected to ease the Covid-19 transmission. “The economic recovery in major timber importing countries such as the United States and China as well as increasing demand from other countries would drive the wood industry to remain positive throughout 2021,” he said in a statement today. Mohd Khairuddin said the value of timber exports for 2020 had declined by only 2% to RM22.02 billion, compared with RM22.5 billion in 2019, a good achievement although the Covid-19 pandemic had not ended.
“The performance reflected a positive recovery phase when compared with other industries which recorded huge contraction due to the challenges in raw material supply and market demand brought about by the impact of the pandemic. “Export value of timber products started to increase on a monthly basis from May to December 2020 which was during the recovery phase. Companies producing wood-based products particularly furniture, plywood, moulding, and joinery revived their operations to meet orders from the export market,” he said. According to him, the performance of high-value-added products such as furniture, joinery and moulding registered an 11% growth with export value of RM12.3 billion compared with RM11.1 billion in 2019. Out of this, wooden furniture remained as the major product with an export growth of 16% to RM10.6 billion from RM9 billion in 2019. However, wood joinery and moulding saw a decline of 6% and 21% to RM972 million and RM688 million against RM1 billion and RM872.1 million respectively in 2019. Meanwhile, export of sawn timber which is a key product recorded a decrease of 29% to RM2.4 billion from RM3.4 billion in the previous year.
Besides that, export of plywood for 2020 fell 17% to RM2.8 billion compared with RM3.8 billion in 2019. This was because of the drop in export to Japan which is a major buyer of Malaysian plywood due to the contraction in the construction industry as well as competition from other producing countries such as Indonesia and China. “The major markets for timber products which recorded growth were the US and China. Both markets accounted for 44% of Malaysia’s total exports. “The US recorded an increase of 50% to RM7.4 billion compared with RM5 billion in 2019,” said Khairuddin. He added that the growth was influenced by the US government’s economic stimulus for the construction industry during the pandemic and growth in e-commerce which led to the increase in demand for Malaysia’s timber products. China, meanwhile, registered an increase of 23% to RM2.3 billion in 2020 against RM1.8 billion in 2019.