(Business in Cameroon) - During the first quater of 2018, Cameroon was among the 10 countries, which provided wood to China. However, the volume exported by CEMAC’s economic powerhouse is continually decreasing because of the high cost of these woods.
In a report published by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) on May 16, 2018, it was revealed that during the first three months of 2018, while wood from Cameroon was sold at around $737 per m3, the one from Congo (Brazzaville) was sold at $326. At the same time, the wood from Solomon Island was sold at $233, the Nigerian was sold $276 and that from Equatorial Guinea was $197.
This means that during that quarter, the Cameroonian wood price was about four times higher than that from Equatorial Guinea, three times the one from Solomon Island and 2.5 times higher than that from Nigeria and from Congo. It is sufficiently higher for Chinese importers to source their wood somewhere else.
“China imported tropical logs mainly from Papua New Guinea (32%), Solomon Islands (28%), Equatorial Guinea (11%), Nigeria (5%), Cameroon (5%), Congo Brazzaville (4%). The top 10 suppliers accounted for over 90% of China’s tropical log imports in the first three months of 2018”, the report revealed.
As far as sawn wood is concerned, China imported only 2% of the whole volume from Cameroon, 72% from Thailand and 7% from Gabon.
It is however important to note that since January 2018, China which has become one of the main destinations for Cameroon’s wood is ignoring the CEMAC countries wood. Indeed, because of the increase of wood export taxes (from 17.5% to 30% between 2016 and 2018) Cameroonian timber growers increase their selling prices but Chinese buyers seem not to appreciate.
Brice R. Mbodiam