A severely limited supply of teak in the market has resulted in raised prices. This year, the Myanmar government is only exporting 20% of the volume of teak, compared to the previous year.
The price for short and narrow strips generally used for flooring in Asian countries and outdoor furniture construction has risen approximately 10%, whilst the price for intermediate sized boards ranging from 6ft to 10ft wide and has risen by 15 to 20%. The steepest price escalation can be seen in the prime quality and long lengths which yacht builders revere. Lengths 10ft and longer and quarter sawn decking has jumped up by 20 to 30% and is expected to increase even higher as the stock of available raw material continues to dwindle.
Changes in the way Burmese teak is extracted and marketed is being implemented by the newly 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 plus 2,500 elephants. MTE was responsible for supplying beautiful teak decks on yachts 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.
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