The proposed log export ban by Russia could have major impacts on global forest product markets.

Russia exported 15 million square meters of logs in 2020, which accounted for almost 12 percent of globally traded roundwood.

Much of this trade could come to an end next year when a new law proposed by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will ban the exportation of softwood logs and high-value hardwood logs as of January 1, 2022.

The Russian government is also considering new regulations aimed at reducing the exportation of green softwood lumber. This regulation is loosely planned to also start in 2022 and is intended to increase investments in dry kilns that produce dried lumber for exports.

Reducing log and green lumber exports is intended to stimulate further value-added processing within Russia and better control illegal logging.

While the proposed ban is not yet law, it is widely expected to be implemented and passed into law in the second quarter of this year.

If enacted, the law will most significantly impact Eastern Russia, where an estimated 10 percent of the timber harvest is exported in log form. In the short-term, the Chinese lumber industry will be most directly affected, as exports of softwood logs mainly from Russia Far East are likely to be prohibited.

According to a new study published by Wood Resources International LLC and O’Kelly Acumen, China will probably look to source more sawlogs from other regions of the world, such as Oceania, Europe, and the United States. The increased competition for logs in those markets will likely put upward pressure on sawlog prices.

Russia passed Canada to become the world's largest exporter of softwood lumber at the end of 2019. Russia's rise was mainly due to other countries seeing low lumber production at the time - namely the U.S. and Canada. 

For more information about the study or to inquire about purchasing the 60-page report in slide format, contact either Hakan Ekstrom, [email protected], or Glen O’Kelly, [email protected]. A Table of Contents of the report is available on their website.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.