Sunday, October 30, 2011

China slows but still Growing

The good news from China couldn't go on forever. Looks like China has slowed down in their buying of Canadian lumber for now, but records are still being broken. China is now BC's #2 customer for lumber. Some expect that this is just a blip and the buying will continue at some point. It is probably healthy for markets to have some sort of pullback. More BC delegates will be heading to China this fall to strengthen trade ties.

B.C. foresters, suffering in a five-year industry depression, have depended on the boom in China to sell wood as the key housing market in the United States remains moribund. Sales to China have helped keep some B.C. mills running that would otherwise be shuttered, including Canfor’s operation in Mackenzie.

Canfor’s forecast of lower sales in the fourth quarter suggests the industry could experience its first period of decline in the country since the selling boom to China began in 2007 and 2008.

This year’s sales to China by the B.C. industry of $731-million through August have already reached record territory – all of 2010 brought in $668-million. August, 2011, sales alone topped sales in all of 2006 but growth in August was a fraction of surprisingly strong growth recorded earlier in 2011.

Even if fourth-quarter sales decline from 2010, the B.C. industry this year is still likely to top $1-billion of sales to mainland China for the first time, cementing the country as B.C.’s No 2 customer.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

No more rainforest destruction for Barbie

A win for responsible forestry and rainforests.

Mattell Inc, the company that makes the Barbie doll and other toys, has agreed to stop buying paper products associated with rainforest destruction.

This is great news on two fronts. One, it will help create less demand for wood acquired from bad forestry practices. Two, Mattell will now turn to paper products sourced from sustainable forestry operations, such as those in BC. Hopefully we see more companies follow suit.

As part of its new commitments, Mattel is instructing its suppliers to avoid wood fibre from companies "that are known to be involved in deforestation," Greenpeace said in a statement. One such firm is Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), a Jakarta-based company that owns five pulp mills in Canada, the Toronto Star reports.

Mattell also introduced new sustainable sourcing principles, including a commitment to have 70 per cent of its packaging come from recycled material or sustainable fibre by the end of this year, and 85 per cent by the end of 2015.

"We're very happy that Barbie retired her pink chainsaw," Richard Brooks, a Greenpeace Canada spokesperson told the Ottawa Citizen.

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