During 2018, the Philippines shipped US$675 million worth of lumber and wood products to its international customers. That dollar amount represents a dramatic -78.2% decline from the $3.1 billion in global sales five years earlier in 2014.
Year over year, the value of total wood exported from the Philippines dipped by -52.2% from the $1.4 billion in revenue generated during 2017.
The two-digit Harmonized Tariff System code (HTS) prefix for wood is 44. Please note that high-level category includes wood charcoal in addition to raw lumber and diverse items such as those made from wood including caskets, tableware and kitchenware.
Read on to find out which country single-handedly bought almost 90% of Filipino exports of lumber and wood products during 2018.
Philippines Wood Exports by Buyer Country
By far, Japanese importers paid the highest amount of dollars for timber and related wood items exported from the Philippines in 2018. Together with the nine other countries below, the following top 10 international buyers accounted for 98.2% of overall wood shipped from the Philippines.
- Japan: $590.4 million (87.5% of Philippine wood exports)
- China: $37.7 million (5.6%)
- United States: $12.6 million (1.9%)
- India: $6.2 million (0.9%)
- South Korea: $4.84 million (0.7%)
- Sri Lanka: $4.83 million (0.7%)
- Taiwan: $1.7 million (0.3%)
- Thailand: $1.677 million (0.25%)
- Vietnam: $1.676 million (0.25%)
- Germany: $1.2 million (0.2%)
Japanese wood imports from the Philippines depreciated by -80.2 from 2014 to 2018.
Admittedly calculations involving smaller amounts, the value of Filipino timber exports to four top trade partners grew since 2014: Thailand (up 892.3%), Sri Lanka (up 17%), South Korea (up 16.3%) then India (up 4.5%).
Five other top countries cut back on wood-related imports from the Philippines compared to 2014: Taiwan (down -58.3%), Germany (down -41.9%), China (down -32.9%), United States (down -14.2%) then Vietnam (down -13.4%).
The Philippines imported $774.6 million worth of wood-related products in 2018, exceeding the $675 million in exported wood from the Philippines. The -$99.6 million product deficit clearly shows the overall trade disadvantage that the Philippines had for lumber and wood products during 2018.
Below are highest trade deficits that the Philippines incurred during 2018 by partnering country.
- China: -US$210.8 million (net export deficit up 158.6% since 2014)
- Canada: -$186.3 million (up 155.7%)
- Malaysia: -$83.8 million (up 0.3%)
- Indonesia: -$23.1 million (up 493%)
- New Zealand: -$20.4 million (up 133.4%)
- Thailand: -$10.9 million (up 10.3%)
- Finland: -$10.3 million (up 54,126%)
- Vietnam: -$9.8 million (up 280.9%)
- Solomon Islands: -$9.7 million (up 850%)
- Netherlands: -$8.4 million (reversing a $793,000 surplus)
Outside of the reversal swinging from $793,000 in black ink during 2014 to -$8.4 million in red ink via Philippine trade with the Netherlands, the fastest-growing top deficits for the Philippines was with Finland (up 54,126%), Solomon Islands (up 850%), Indonesia (up 493%), Vietnam (up 280.9%) then China (up 158.6%).
Below are the top 10 product subcategories of wood exported from the Philippines during 2018.
- Wood carpentry, builders’ joinery: US$313.3 million (46.4% of Philippine wood exports)
- Sawn wood: $136.9 million (20.3%)
- Laminated wood including plywood, veneered panels: $94.1 million (13.9%)
- Wood charcoal: $51 million (7.6%)
- Wood fiberboard or from other ligneous materials: $23.4 million (3.5%)
- Inlaid wood, caskets, jewelry or cutlery cases: $15.5 million (2.3%)
- Sheets for veneering: $12.9 million (1.9%)
- Wood tableware, kitchenware: $8.9 million (1.3%)
- Miscellaneous wooden articles: $5 million (0.7%)
- Unassembled wood for parquet flooring: $3.9 million (0.6%)
The fastest-growing wood subcategories from 2014 to 2018 was laminated wood including plywood and veneered panels (up 5,074%), sheets for veneering (up 295.6%), wood fiberboard or from other ligneous materials (up 238.5%) then sawn wood (up 166.1%).
Leading the declines among exported wood from the Philippines was its largest wood carpentry and builders’ joinery subcategory, thanks to its -89.3% shrinkage in value over the 5-year period.
According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following suppliers are examples of wood trading companies, manufacturers, distributors or wholesalers based in the Philippines:
- Accendo Corporation
- Cocoking Industrial Phils. Inc
- Margecita Lajera Trading
- Muz Trading
- Swanmade Enterprise
Alibaba, Philippines’ Wood Suppliers. Accessed on April 10, 2019
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 10, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 10, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 10, 2019
Wikipedia, Lumber. Accessed on April 10, 2019
Wikipedia, Wood. Accessed on April 10, 2019