Malaysia’s total export of timber products improved by 1 percent year-on-year in 2019, registering a total export value of RM 22.5 billion compared to RM 22.3 billion a year earlier. This was driven by a substantial increase in the wooden furniture export to RM 9.1 billion (+17.4 percent year-on-year) as well as wooden frames, which registered RM 127 million in export earnings (+2.7 percent year-on-year).
The major driver of the improvement in the total export of timber products in 2019 was due to the sharp increase in exports to the United States, especially for wooden furniture, on the back of supply chain diversion caused by the US-China trade standoff. Exports of wooden furniture from Malaysia to US increased exponentially by 44.7 percent year-on-year to RM 4.2 billion, followed by BJC increasing by 31.3 percent to RM 165.7 million and mouldings increasing by 22.6 percent to RM 130.2 million.
Besides the US, China was also a major importer of Malaysian timber products, surpassing India as the third largest market for Malaysia. Exports of timber products to China increased by more than 60 percent in 2019 compared to 2018.
Other than wooden furniture and frames, exports of other timber products experienced contractions of between 0.2 percent to 43.6 percent due to the largely slowing global economy towards the end of 2019, completion of construction activities for Tokyo Olympics 2020 and sluggish construction activities in major markets.
Exports of major timber products such as sawntimber declined by 25.5 percent year-on-year to RM 3.4 billion, followed by plywood declining by 43.6 percent to RM 3.4 billion, MDF declining by 10.6 percent to RM 1.1 billion, BJC declining by 2.1 percent to RM 1 billion and mouldings declining by 0.2 percent to RM0.9 billion. These are the top five timber products after wooden furniture.