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Japan's timber exports near 40-year high on Chinese demand

Producers go after other Asian markets as domestic homebuilding prospects dim

China was a major buyer of Japanese cedar logs in 2017.

TOKYO -- Export values of Japanese timber products in 2017 likely hit highs not seen in four decades, with industrial demand in economically growing China providing an outlet for producers hit by a shrinking domestic housing market.

Full-year figures will likely reach nearly 32 billion yen ($288 million), up more than 30% from 2016, even if the December count stays flat year-on-year at 2.4 billion yen. Exports for January-November jumped 37% from the previous year to 29.2 billion yen, according to the Japan Wood-Products Export Association. The total 2016 tally of 23.8 billion yen was already beaten by the end of September.

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