China imported 26.78 million cubic meters of timber in the first 10 months, up 9.9 percent on the same period last year, according to statistics released Thursday by Chinese Customs.
The statistics show that the average import price was US$118.9 per cubic meter, an 8.5 percent rise on the same period last year. The total value of imports reached US$3.18 billion, up 19.3 percent year on year.
Russia was the main source of China's timber import with 18.42 million cubic meters, up 10.8 percent and accounting for 68.8 percent of the total timber imports; Papua New Guinea ranked second with 1.65 million cubic meters, up 10.9 percent; while imports from Malaysia saw a sharp drop of 30.3 percent to 1.1 million cubic meters.
Experts attributed the import growth to strong demand from the domestic market, booming urban construction and a buoyant furniture industry.
An analysis by Customs authorities said that the protection of natural forests all over the world in recent years has reduced domestic and overseas timber supplies.
To ease the timber shortage problem, analysts suggested the government expand tree planting areas and encourage enterprises to use timber substitutes to reduce wood consumption.
China consumed 325.7 million cubic meters of timber in 2005.
(Xinhua News Agency December 1, 2006)