Growth in timber and panel imports to the UK

In the latest Statistical Bulletin released by the Timber Trade Federation, a continued growth in the volume of timber and panel products imported to the UK market was reflected in the first four months of the year. Import volume was 5% higher as compared to the same period in 2015. This was due to an increase in panel products imports.

Some major growth sectors include Brazil, which saw a 31% growth in the volume of softwood plywood exported to the UK compared to 2015 – and Indonesia which increased its export of hardwood plywood by 53% in volume. 

But value in softwood imports declined by 7.5% compared to the same period in 2015. The decline was due to currency fluctuations where sawn goods down by around 8% and planed goods by 6.5%.

In light of the EU Referendum vote, the TTF Statistics also offered an insight into softwood imports from the European Union. Following on from 2015 trends, in the four months to April 2016, 92% of the total UK softwood imports came from the EU. Sweden is the largest supplier of softwood to the UK market accounting nearly 50% of the trade with the EU. Other strong EU trade partners also include Latvia and Finland.
 
Of non-EU countries, great majority of softwood trade is with Russia which accounts for nearly 80% of the softwood imported into the UK from outside the European Union whilst Canada and Norway make up most of the remainder.
 
David Hopkins, Managing Director of the TTF, said: “These statistics show the continued reliance on trade with the EU for the softwood market, though other countries seem ready to increase their market share. We will be following these statistics up with an event in September looking at the potential impacts of the EU referendum vote on the UK timber trade and forecasts for the future.” 

Source: Lesprom Network & Timber Trade Federation