Chinese demand for softwood remains strong

China's housing market and lower Chinese inventories have helped drive up demand.

Chinese demand for softwood logs has hit its highest level in 12 months, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly.

Softwood log import volumes peaked in March, with the country bringing in 7 million m³ in the first quarter of 2015, about 2 percent up on the same period last year. Inventories in Chinese ports are about 40 percent below what they were at this time last year, fuelling demand.

The country’s demand for lumber also increased with imports from Canada and Russia up 18 and 32 percent year on year in the first quarter.

The report adds housing construction has played a big part increased demand, with new builds in major cities up 30 percent from last year, though the market is not necessarily going to continue rising.

About 10 percent of imported softwood logs came from Australia in the first quarter, which has almost tripled its softwood exports to China in the last three years. That puts it on a par with US log export volumes to the country.  Russia became China’s biggest softwood importer last year, according to Wood Resource Quarterly.