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S'wak expects plywood exports increase this year 2012-05-21 06:12:17

SIBU: Sarawak expects its playwood exports to increase by between 10 and 15 per cent this year following the increase in demand from Japan following the earthquake and tsunami which hit Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture in March.

In a quarterly report today, the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corp (STIDC) said the disaster destroyed timber factories located at Ishinamako, Ofunato and Miyaki city areas.

They included six plywood, one particle board and one pulp and paper mills, it said.

The corporation said to house its affected population, Japan constructed about 30,000 units of temporary shelters.

It said the plywood price was expected to go up by up to 15 per cent this year following a 10 per cent increase last year.

"The upward trend is due to a shortage in supplies caused by the lull in production and the difficulties in sourcing for raw materials due to the recent wet weather," it said.

Meanwhile, the board said, the value of the logs and timer products exported in the first quarter of this year fell by 10 per cent compared with the same period last year.

It said there was also a fall in the overall volume of logs and timber products exported.

The STIDC said the plywood exports, which fell by 11 per cent in the quarter under review, remained the major contributor, accounting for RM848 million, or 52 per cent, of the total export values.

From January to March this year, exports fell to 588,152 cubic metres (cu m) from 722,403 cu m in the same period last year, it said

It said total production of log, the state's next biggest export earner, fell by 28 per cent to 1.8 million cu m from 2.5 million cu m in the last corresponding quarter.

"Its export value decreased by 13 per cent to RM439 million from the RM507 million previously. "The bad weather and to some extent, the ongoing impoundment of the Bakun Hydro Dam in the Upper Rajang River basin, were to blame," it said.

It said the process had flooded timber roads above the dam but below it, it had caused dry stretches along the same river to hamper log transportation from the several concessions in the area. - BERNAMA