UK: Volume of timber imports in Q1 2021 highest since 2007

According to statistics by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), the volume of timber and panel products imported in Q1 2021 was at its highest in more than a decade – since Q1 2007.

Q1 2021 solid timber and panel product import volumes were 23% higher than Q1 2020, nearing almost 3 million m3 (2,938,000 m3) as compared to last year’s 2,396,000m3.

This makes Q1 2021 have the highest volume of imports since Q1 2007 (3,021,000 m3), and the third consecutive quarter of record volumes, following Q3 (2,698,000 m3) and Q4 (3,123,000 m3) 2020.

Based on the strength of demand seen in 2021, it is estimated that the total volume of imports in Q2 2021 could reach 3,300,000 m3 and rival the second quarter of 2007 (3,371,000 m3).

With demand so strong that even record imports cannot satisfy it, the TTF believes supply is likely to continue to tighten – particularly with Swedish mill stocks the lowest for 20 years.

The TTF previously warned that these low stock levels will mean the balance between supply and demand is likely to further tighten this summer.

“These statistics underline that the market is continuing to import unprecedented levels of volume amidst record demand for timber and panel products,” said David Hopkins, Chief Executive Officer of the TTF. “Since the release of our Market Statement in May, recent reports from our members and the CPA indicate that demand remains strong which will keep supply tight throughout 2021. All users of timber must work closely with suppliers on their purchasing strategies, and to take a forward-looking perspective as timber is likely to remain on allocation.”