This year the Myanmar Government is allowing only about 20% of the volume of Teak to be exported as was exported last year. Short and narrow strips generally used for flooring in Asian countries and outdoor furniture construction has risen approximately 10%.
Intermediate size boards ranging from 6” to 10” wide and 6’ to 10’ have risen 15-20%. The steepest price escalation can be seen in the prime quality and long lengths which yacht builders revere. Lengths ten feet and longer and quarter sawn decking has jumped 20-30% and expected to go even higher as the stock of available raw material continues to dwindle.
Big changes in the way Burma Teak is extracted and marketed are being implemented by the newly established democratic government. The State Timber Board was formed shortly after Burma gained its freedom from England in 1948. Later, the name was changed to MTE (Myanma Timber Enterprise).
At its height MTE controlled all of the forests in Burma with a staff and outside laborers numbering over 50,000 persons, plus 2,500 robust giants of the forest, elephants, who use their massive bodies to pull and push the Teak logs where roads did not exist. MTE was responsible for supplying beautiful Teak decks on vessels all over the world. Now, MTE will be dismantled and private companies will be charged with many of its former duties.
Emphasis is now being directed by the Government to allow the natural Teak forests to regenerate and large tracts of land are being put aside for the commercial development of Teak plantations. If you are interested in aiding the Myanmar Government in their efforts to reforest or you like the idea of investing in the world’s most expensive commercial hardwood we can put you in contact with the appropriate governmental department or private plantation growers.
Bob Steber is managing director of Ginnacle Import Export Pte. Ltd., 05-318 The Plaza, 7500-A Beach Rd. Singapore 199591 Tel: 65-6-299-2535 Fax: 65-6-296-6629 Mobile: 65-9-759-7687. Teakwood@singnet.com.sg www.teak.net
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