Indian hardwood plywood import business has been growing steady over the past few years. But many companies are finding a quick slowdown since August 2014. Although some brands like centuryply deny any slowdown but the small and medium manufacturers are continously blaming the cheap import of plywood from China.
According to our estimates Northern belt takes 55 to 60 percent of the total india market requirement. This part of India is estimated to have 30% of the total market share. Despite of slow market, the organized segment is doing better on the contrary unorganized players are getting the impact of poor demand heavily.
In the past every producers used to have 30 to 40 days pending orders and not they have come down to one or two days. The blame is on cheap Chinese imports, which has created a fear among small sized manufacturers. A majority of importers is taking bigger share quickly.
It is said that production of plywood from northern belts like Yamuna Nagar, Sampla, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Lucknow etc has decreased by 30%. After going through local market and different timber retail shops, it is evident that plywood from China is present on only a few places not all. The materials have been bough on competitive prices but good quality are not ascertained. Over all the presence of cheaper material is generating a curiosity among others who are not dealing with it and is also fuelling lot of talks among trade people.
Plywood Containers Flooded into India
It is said that number of containers loaded with plywood has increased during last 6 months to India’s port. Unconfirmed reports (most of it are vauge and seems exaggerated) tell an huge number of more than 1500 containers. It is believed that ‘nhava sheva’ port at Mumbai is importing most containers and a similar trend is visible at Chennai and Delhi. Many of the wholesalers say that Chinese material is gaining access to many new plywood markets.
It is obvious that an increasing number of indians are visiting China for buying plywood. Due to high prices of plywood manufactured in India, buyers tried with Chinese factories and guided the suppliers about Indian market demand. The producers are doing some changes like using red face, better joined core etc, still the cost was almost 25% lowerthan Indian wood. This results in an increased importing of plywood, but most of the traders including manufacturers are buying cheap quality which has got them short gains.
A couple of months back, when the rates of Indian made plywood rose to a level where business of distributors were not so easy. The panels from south, Bihar and imports got a welcome. So the demand was taking a beat and market was towards down trend. Presence of the material led to talks and exaggerated figures than its actual demand.
Going deep in to markets, it was also felt that few people exaggerate about the numbers or quantity of imports by telling higher number of containers sold per month. Such talks helped the buyers to cool the market and create an environment to pressure for a price reduction.