Real estate and housing sector are showing slow demand trend but it did not affect the requirement of imported timber in India. Even demand of wood panel has contracted below 50% within 60 days of GST period but its affect is not visible on timber import tally. The Report from Kandla Timber Association (KTA), which contributes India’s 65 percent Timber import, says that approximately 17 lacs cubic meter timber is being imported from April to August month at Kandla Port. As per KTA, 7.02 lacs cubic meter timber (logs and sawn) was being imported in first quarter (January to March, 17) of this year where as 9.94 lacs cubic meter was imported in second quarter (April to June 17), hence there is a growth of approximately 40% during last two-quarters. July and August month are also showing decent number of timber containers at port and figure posted growth further.
After implementing GST, the number of timber importers were worried for increasing their investment cost in timber import business because they have to pay GST before shipping the material to their warehouses. But timber import data indicate a different picture.
Although timber importers say that these are old orders which they could not cancel, and affect of GST will be seen in next quarter which is certainly true and its impact on further imports will be visible in next quarters. Some importers claim that after relief in fumigation policy by government, the timber shipment from Europe, America and Canada have lead to growth in shipment although hardwood timber import from Malaysia and African countries are not increasing. Report also finds that import of sawn timber has been growing with good pace every month. Good demand from Government projects are also helping timber import in India.
The Ply Reporter believe that imports will now take a hit because the arrived material is yet to be sold and used hence there will a struggle in this sector till December. Rest a lot will depend upon Indian macro-economic policies and global scenario that impact timber prices as well as its orders behavior in the international market.