Hardwood plywood imports from China recover
US imports of hardwood plywood grew by 27% from the
previous month. Imports were 232,154 cu.m in January,
8% lower than at the same time in 2013.
Hardwood plywood imports from China recovered in
January and reached 137,737 cu.m. This is 76% higher
than December imports, but lower than last year‟s imports
Imports from all other major hardwood plywood suppliers
declined in January, with the exception of Malaysia.
Imports from Malaysia increased by 78% to 9,862 cu.m in
Higher moulding imports from Brazil
Total moulding imports were almost unchanged at
US$72.3 million in January. Hardwood moulding imports
were worth US$14.7 million in January.
Imports from China were down by 11% from the previous
month (US$4.3 million) but China remained the largest
supplier. Brazilian shipments were worth US$3.5 million
in January, up 19% from December.
US imports of hardwood flooring down
Hardwood flooring imports declined by 29% in January
following an import peak in December. Hardwood
flooring imports were worth US$2.4 million in January.
The largest decline was in imports from Indonesia, but
other suppliers also shipped less in January.
Sharp increase in imports of Indonesian assembled
Imports of assembled flooring panels increased by 3% to
US$10.0 million in January. Imports from China were
worth US$6.3 million (+8%).
Indonesia increased exports by 45% from December to
620,498 cu.m. Canadian shipments fell by 21% in January.
2013 furniture imports increase 7% year on year
Most countries exported more furniture to the US in
January, with the exception of Canada. US imports of
wooden furniture were worth US$1.27 billion in January,
up 2% from December. Imports were 13% higher than in
China‟s furniture shipments to the US grew by 4% to
US$661.9 million in January. Imports from Vietnam were
US$224.9 (+5%). The largest growth rate was in imports
from Indonesia, which increased by 21% to US$49.6
million. Canadian shipments declined by 10%.
Canada has been exporting fewer manufactured goods to
the US, including wood products and furniture, for several
years now. The strong Canadian dollar has hindered
exports, but analysts also point to lower labour
productivity growth compared to the US.
Growth in US wood product manufacturing output
GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2013 was revised to
2.4%, down from 3.2% previously estimated by the US
Department of Commerce. The estimate for overall
economic growth in 2013 remains at 1.9%.
The unemployment rate was 6.7% in February.
Unemployment has seen little change since December
The US economy expanded in February, according to the
Institute for Supply Management. The wood products
industry reported the second highest growth rate of all
manufacturing industries. Furniture production increased
in February, but not as strongly as wood product
Both consumer and builder confidence down
Consumer confidence in the US economy was unchanged
from January to February, according to the Thomson
Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment
The unusually cold winter weather increased heating
expenses. The additional cost of heating was offset by
higher income and employment among young Americans.
Consumers under the age of 35 expect their household
income to grow by 5% this year.
Builder confidence in the market for newly built singlefamily
homes fell significantly in February, according to
the National Association of Home Builders. Builders were
concerned about weather conditions and the cost of labour,
material and building lots.
Severe winter weather affected housing market
Housing starts fell by 11% in January from the previous
month, but the decline was mainly because of the cold
Construction started on 909,000 new homes at a
seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to over 1
million in November and December last year. Both singlefamily
and multi-family home construction decreased in
The number of building permits was only 602,000 units in
January (seasonally adjusted annual rate). The number of
building permits issued is an indicator of future building
Home sales fell in January
Sales of existing homes were at the lowest level in January
since July 2012, according to the National Association of
Realtors. The severe winter weather, higher mortgage
costs and home prices contributed to the low sales activity.
No improvement in non-residential construction
Public spending on construction of offices, commercial,
health care and educational buildings in the US has been
revised upwards for November and December 2013.
However, in January public spending decreased by 2%
from the previous month. Private spending on nonresidential
construction was unchanged from December.
Architecture firms were more optimistic in January.
The level of interest in new projects was strong, according
to the American Institute of Architects, although the
number of contracts signed did not increase.
January furniture retail sales slide
Retail sales at furniture and home furnishing stores in the
US were stable from January to February, according to US
Census Bureau data. Sales are lower than in November
and December last year, but a drop after the holiday
shopping season is normal.
The latest retail data for just furniture (excluding home
furnishing) show a 3% decrease in sales in January from
the same time last year.
Furniture shipments up 5% in 2013 from previous year
The furniture market continued to grow slowly throughout
2013, according to survey data from Smith Leonhard
(Smith Leonhard Furniture Insights February 2014).
However, the value of new orders in the furniture sector in
2013 remained below 2006 levels. Total 2013 orders were
about 10% lower than before the financial crisis in 2006.
Compared with 2012, furniture orders grew by 6% in
About three quarters of manufacturers and distributors
reported more orders in 2013 compared to the previous
year. In December 2013, new orders declined from
November but a decline in orders is normal at this time of
Furniture shipments increased by 5% in 2013 from the
previous year. December shipments were 4% higher than
at the same time in 2012. Inventories were at good levels
considering the higher market demand. Inventories were
up 3% in December over last year.
Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood sues
United States government
The Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood has
filed a complaint in the US Court of International Trade
over the decision by the US International Trade
Commission to strike down the antidumping and
countervailing duties on plywood from China.
The Coalition had complained about plywood imports
from China in 2012, which started the International Trade
Commission‟s investigation into anti-dumping of Chinese
Now the Coalition hopes that a federal judge will overrule
the findings of the International Trade Commission. The
Commission had voted unanimously that the plywood
imports from China do not injure the US industry.
Another industry group, the American Alliance for
Hardwood Plywood, plans to intervene in the case and
defend the decision of the International Trade
Commission. The Alliance represents importers and users
of plywood. One of the largest users of imported plywood
is the kitchen cabinet industry.