Central/West Africa: Okoume log prices tumble from a good start in 2015

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At year end it is of interest to review the way business has developed over the past 12 months in Central/West Africa. In 2015 the big loser in terms of FOB price has been okoume where log prices have fallen around euro 140 per cu.m since the start of this year.

Sapele and sipo LM grade FOB log prices are also down from levels early in the year by euro 85 and euro 66 per cu.m respectively.

On the other hand, ayous log prices are now higher by euro 20 per cu.m than at the beginning of the year. Padouk prices have also risen during the year and are up about euro 15 per cu.m.

However, prices for most of the other more popular timbers have finished up very little changed from 12 months earlier.

Looking back ten years to December 2005 illustrates that most popular log species did secure price gains over ten years, usually between euro 50 and euro 100 per cu.m for LM grade.

Due mainly to strong Asian demand sawn padauk (FAS) has been trading at over euro 500 per cu.m FOB higher than in 2005 and even okoume sawnwood is, today, some euro 50 per cu.m FOB higher priced than in 2005 despite being currently out of favour in the market.

Mild weather sustains buying for EU markets

Over the past month prices have remained largely unchanged and analysts expect this stability to continue into the first quarter of 2016 as few positive developments in the established markets are expected.

Demand in Europe is currently holding up well, and although expected to become quieter during the traditional Christmas and New Year vacations, the relatively mild winter weather in Europe has allowed construction work to continue for longer this year.

All eyes on China – the key to business in 2016

Producers appear to have settled into a general acceptance of the present low volume of business but this is affecting the financial results even of some major mills.

The main issue is that demand in China continues to be depressed and any buying is of small volumes and favouring stock replenishment of only the high quality premier species.

Analysts write “it is not easy to forecast how the market will perform in 2016. So much depends on how quickly the economy in China begins to resume steady growth and how quickly the housing market in the EU can be spurred back to life”.

Log Export Prices

West Africa logs, FOB € per m³
Asian market
LM
B
BC/C
Acajou/ Khaya/N'Gollon
230
230
160
Ayous/Obéché/Wawa
260
260
180
Azobe & Ekki
230
230
160
Belli
250
250
-
Bibolo/Dibétou
150
145
 
Iroko 330
290
260
Okoume (60% CI, 40% CE, 20% CS) (China only) 200
200
160
Moabi 335 305 225
Movingui 210
210
160
Niove
160
160
-
Okan
250
250
-
Padouk
310
285
225
Sapele 305
305
220
Sipo/Utile
345
340
265
Tali 320 320
-

                                                                                                                                               

Sawnwood Export Prices

West Africa sawnwood, FOB
€ per m³
Ayous FAS GMS 410
Bilinga FAS GMS 500
Okoumé FAS GMS
350
Merchantable 225
Std/Btr GMS 270
Sipo FAS GMS
610
FAS fixed sizes 610
FAS scantlings 640
Padouk FAS GMS 1010
FAS scantlings 1000
Strips 680
Sapele FAS Spanish sizes 610
FAS scantlings 620
Iroko FAS GMS 610
Scantlings 690
Strips
440
Khaya FAS GMS
450
FAS fixed
460
Maobi FAS GMS
610
Scantlings
630
Movingui FAS GMS
420
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