Australia, one of the world's largest exporters of woodchips, appears to have recovered from a 10-year low in 2012 as shipments rose again last year. In the first quarter of this year, exports were close to the highest since 2010.
When Australian exports fell, it was replaced by Vietnam as the largest supplier of woodchips in the world. Exports of eucalyptus chips peaked at 5 million tonnes in 2008, dropping to around 3.3 million tonnes in 2012. This is the lowest export volume since 2000 and can be attributed to the diminishing demand for chips in Japan.
The recovery of Australia's export figures is due to a high demand for wood fibre coming from China and over the past six months, woodchip exports have grown once again. The end of last year and beginning of this saw the highest quarterly shipments since 2010.
China's need for wood fibre is for its pulp industry and Q1 2014 was the first time Australia exported more woodchips to China than Japan. Of the total 1.2 million tonnes shipped from the nation earlier this year, about half was destined for China. The remaining volume was exported to Japan, Taiwan and India.