China's imports of woodchips increased 340% between 2008 and 2010, and will more than double by 2015, says a new RISI study. Used for MDF and other particleboard and panel manufacture, the massive increase in consumption could make the raw wood material pricier in other markets, including the U.S. But is also drawing new suppliers into the market say RISI researchers.

"The international woodchip trade jumped to record levels in 2010, in both the Pacific and Atlantic markets, and biomass exports from North America to Europe also hit an all-time record," says Robert Flynn, co-author of the study. "This was good news for those connected to the market, considering that 2009 was a terrible year for the
woodchip trade, and that was followed by the major earthquake in Chile, one of the world's largest woodchip suppliers. Looking ahead, there will be new woodchip suppliers starting up export operations in at least eight countries in 2011/2012, in response to continued global growth in these markets."

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