A panels plant in Thailand. Image: File photo
The global wood-based panel market size was valued at over US$16 billion in 2015 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of over 13%, exceeding US$35 billion by 2023, according to research firm Global Market Insights.
China exported 5.8 million tonnes of wood based panels, valued at US$ 5.8 billion in 2014, growing at a CAGR of 15% over the previous year. China trades with the U.S., where it exports around 15% of its total panel output, accounting for 55% of the U.S. total imports. One of the challenges that both the North American and European panel makers are facing is the increasing imports from China. In 2014, China and Indonesia were identified as the top global suppliers of the panels with a combined share of over 55% of total exports. China significantly strengthened its position in the global export structure, from 31% in 2007 to 39% in 2014. However, the sector in China continues to suffer from a poor image due to quality scandals.
The European market has demonstrated strong growth in the last few years buoyed by growth of the furniture sector and rising construction industry. Some of these products include veneer, plywood, OSB, particleboard, wafer board, insulation boards, hardboards and fibreboard.
However, increasing cost of a range of inputs such as wood, energy and resin is expected to challenge the panel manufacturers across the Europe over the forecast period. In addition, the European panel producers are competing with the biomass industry for the procurement of wood.
Increasing deforestation has led to the demand growth for efficient and effective utilisation of timber. This is expected to fuel the industry demand over the forecast period. In addition, technological innovation and advancement along with the mounting efficiency in manufacturing is likely to bolster the demand from 2016 to 2023. However, rapid increases in fossil fuel cost are obstructing growth over the forecast period.
The changes in incorporating newer definitions of structural use panels by APA—The Engineered Wood Association is likely to boost the global demand in South America as well as in North America region. Infrastructure modernisation and rapid industrialisation in the developing economies of Asia Pacific are also likely to be key drivers for the global wood-based panel market over the next few years.