Central/West Africa: Hint of improved demand for okoume

Heavy rains have been affecting forest operations in the DRC and the Republic of Congo. Reports say flooding has been serious in many provinces with areas bordering the rivers Ubangi, Congo and their tributaries being badly affected forcing people to evacuate.

The heavy disruptive rains in Cameroon, Republic of Congo and northern Congo have stopped with the onset of the dry-season with the usual Harmatan (Sahara-sandwinds).

Producers report a steady trade in okoume and andoung sawnwood in the Philippines but enquiries are still slow for the European markets some of which are experiencing a marked slowdown in construction.

Under the current circumstances it has come as a surprise that producers are reporting signals that there is interest in China for KD okoume sawnwood and are anticipating new contracts, something not reported for a while.

Trade with China continues to be disrupted. It is understood that there are restrictions on unloading imported timber arriving at Zhangjiagang Port in China and resumption of cargo transfers will be delayed.

The South African market is receptive to okoume but here orders are small and there is tough competition from Asian suppliers.

Analysts say there is growing acceptance of laminated wooden doors in South Africa but that Indonesian door manufacturers do well in this market.

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