In 2015, the EU bought 1.05 million cubic metres of tropical sawn hardwood, 9% more than the previous year. The value of these imports also increased by 15% to EUR772 million, according to the ITTO.
The average unit value of tropical sawn hardwood imports into the EU in 2015 was EUR732 per cubic metre, up from EUR670 per cubic metre from the previous year. The increase was due to the Euro being 20% weaker against the USD in 2015 compared to 2014.
While the rise in EU imports of tropical sawn hardwood in 2015 is encouraging, the volume of imports remains at very low levels. Import volume in 2015 was only 40% of the level prevailing before the global financial crises and fell short even of the level between 2009 and 2011 in the immediate aftermath of the crises.
The pace of increase in import volume in 2015 was also slower than for temperate sawn hardwoods which jumped 19% to 1.26 million cubic metres. The share of tropical in total EU sawn hardwood imports fell from 48% in 2014 to 46% in 2015, continuing a long term trend.
On the other hand, the loss of tropical wood’s share in EU sawn hardwood imports is less obvious in Euro value terms; tropical wood’s share was 57% in 2015, the same as the previous year and not too far short of the level of 62% before the global financial crises.