According to data provided by the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of Ghana’s Forestry Commission (FC), the number of export permits vetted, processed, approved and issued to exporters during the third quarter of 2008 was lower than the figure for the first quarter of the same year.
In the third quarter for instance, 2,196 export permits were issued to cover shipment of various timber and wood products through Ghana’s sea ports of Tema and Takoradi.
The data shows that compared to the number of export permits issued in the second quarter of 2008, which totaled 2,319, the third quarter results fell 5.30%. This decrease could be attributed to the slump in trade due to the summer holidays in the European Union and North America, which are Ghana’s two main markets, according to Fordaq’s website, IHB which manages the leading online market for wood professionals worldwide.
The breakdown of permits are made of the following; lumber kiln-dried (KD) and air-dried (AD) consisted of 45.49% of contracts, registering the highest number of export permit applications for the period under review, resulting from higher demand for these products than for tertiary wood products such as furniture parts, moldings, floorings, dowels, broomsticks and profile boards.
Substantial decreases in the number of permits were issued in the third quarter for the export of blockboard, layons, floorings, dowels, moldings, boules, sliced veneer and rotary veneer. Nonetheless, there were significant increases in the number of permits issued during the same period for the export of teak billets/poles/logs. This increase may be attributed to heightened demand for this product by India and Hong Kong, the site indicated.
The data shows that three hundred and thirty eight export permits, with a total volume of 32,937m³ and valued at EUR10.30 million, were issued to a number of timber companies for overland export of lumber, plywood and/or blockboard by road to Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Benin and Togo.
Third quarter market prices and trends remain stable for Ghana
There were no major changes in Ghana’s export prices of wood products during the third quarter of 2008. Prices were generally stable for contracts closed with buyers in the major importing countries of Germany, Italy and France.
According to the information most exporters found it difficult to negotiate prices above the TIDD Minimum Guiding Selling Prices (GSP) in some cases. It was reported by most sellers that the limited improvement in prices was the result of the slowdown in the building industry in Western Europe, Ghana’s main market for wood products.
Prices of African mahogany sawn timber for the US, which reached a high of USD1000/m³ during the second quarter of 2008, fell significantly to an average price of USD930/m³ during the quarter under review. Additionally, most buyers were reported to be purchasing at cheaper prices from Ghana’s trade competitors in Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon and Cameroon.
Celtis rotary veneer in the US market commanded an average price of USD500/m³, which was USD9/m³ more than the GSP of USD491/m³ in the quarter under review. During the third quarter of 2008, two rubberwood contracts were given to Best Glow Wood Limited to supply 2000 m³ each of rubberwood lumber to Tan Eng Hout & Sons and Hsin Foogn Manufacturers Limited, Chinese buyers of wood products from Malaysia. These were the largest contracts signed by the company since July 2007 and secured an improved price for rubberwood of USD160/m³, up from the previous level of USD130/m³. Smaller volumes of sliced veneer contracts were approved for John Bitar & Company Limited and Logs & Lumber Limited to supply this product to buyers in China, India, Russia and Singapore, which previously had not been a preferred destination for the product. It is anticipated that these markets would be further expanded to receive larger volumes in the future, the site said.
Ghana’s timber industry is a major foreign exchange earner, and a source of employment in the economy, over the last century. It is estimated to contribute around US$180 million to the country’s economy annually.
And according to the website of the FC, there are 41 timber exporters registered with it and licensed to export timber products out of the country.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi