12 Jul 2013 11:19

SIBU,July 11(Bernama) -- Sarawak's timber sector contributed RM7.5 billion to the state's coffers last year

The Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation(STIDC) regards this as a "positive trend ", as it is an increase of five per cent from the 2011 contribution of RM7.1 billion.

It said in a statement today that plywood was still the sector's main export and revenue earner.

"The volume exported increased by 17 per cent to 2.6 million cubic metres. Value also increased by six per cent to RM4 billion compared to the RM3.8 billion previously.

"Japan is still the biggest market, accounting for exports of 1.4 million cubic metres valued at RM2.3 billion, followed by the Middle East (334,000 cubic meters) at RM411 million and Korea (331,000 cubic metres) at M427 million.

"The exports to Japan, the Middle East and Korea constituted 79 per cent of the total volume of sawn timber. It also contributed 80 per cent to the overall value of sawn timber in 2012," it added.

On logs, it said although the volume increased by seven per cent to 3.3 million cubic metres compared to the 3.1 million previously, the value decreased by two per cent to RM1.8 billion from RM1.84 billion.

"India remained the top buyer with purchases of 2.1 million cubic metres valued at RM1.2 billion, followed by Taiwan (387,000 cubic metres) at RM213 million and China (345,000 cubic metres) at RM176 million," the STIDC added.

On sawn timber, it said the export volume went up by 12 per cent to 822,000 cubic metres from 731,000 cubic metres to register a corresponding increase in value by 13 per cent at RM785 million against that of RM693 million in 2011.

"Thailand is still the state's traditional number one market accounting for 240,000 cubic metres at a value of RM235 million," it added.

Meanwhile the export value of other timber products such as dowels, mouldings, particle boards, laminated veneer lumber, veneer, fibreboard, block board, woodchips and others stood at RM874 million to contribute to 12 per cent of the overall earnings for the sector.

For this year, STIDC expects demands for timber and timber products to remain the same.

But it is also optimistic that demand from the Middle East countries like Yeman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will pick up significantly.