China shipped more hardwood plywood in July
Hardwood plywood imports increased 7% in July month
on month to 299,602 cu.m. However, year-to-July imports
remain lower than at the same time in 2015. The value of
plywood imports in July increased 10% from the previous
month to USUS$171 million.
Plywood shipments from China accounted for the majority
of imports and the overall growth in imports. July imports
from China were 204,335 cu.m. worth USUS$115.3
million. However, year-to-July import volumes from
China were slightly below 2015 levels.
Hardwood plywood imports from Indonesia fell 20% in
July as did imports from all other suppliers except China.
Significant growth in tropical hardwood veneer
Tropical hardwood veneer imports are significantly up this
year from 2015. Imports were worth US$2.8 million in
July, up 81% on July 2015.
While the majority of imports come from Europe, no
single supplier dominates the market. Based on year-to-
July imports Italy and China were the largest suppliers of
tropical veneer in 2016 followed by Ghana, Cote d¡¯Ivoire,
India and Cameroon.
In July, Italy shipped just under US$1 million to the US
market while China supplied US$0.4 million worth of
Mouldings imports lower than in 2015
Imports of hardwood mouldings were worth US$15.8
million in July, up 9%. Year-to-date imports were 3%
lower than in July 2015.
Imports from Brazil continued to decline with July imports
falling to US$2.8 million, down 4% from June.
Moulding imports from Malaysia were also down in July
from the previous month, but the year-to-July import value
increased 10% from the same time last year.
China¡¯s hardwood moulding shipments to the US
increased in July to US$5.4 million. Year-to-date imports
from China were down 11% from July 2015.
Vietnam increases assembled flooring shipments to
US hardwood flooring imports were slightly up in July at
US$4.3 million, while assembled flooring imports fell to
US$15.5 million. July 2016 imports of assembled flooring
panels expanded 11% from July 2015 but hardwood
flooring imports were lower than at the same time last
Hardwood flooring imports from Indonesia declined in
July, while imports of the same product from China and
Malaysia were up. July imports from China were almost
one third higher than in July 2015.
For assembled flooring panels, imports from China and, to
a lesser extent, Canada declined from June, but both
countries remain the leading sources of US imports.
Indonesia shipped US$743,332 worth of assembled
flooring in July, up 50% from June. Assembled flooring
imports from Thailand continued growing (+22% monthover-
month). Vietnam has become a major supplier as
well in 2016. In July Vietnam exported US$456,689 worth
of assembled flooring panels to the US.
Wooden furniture imports up 3% year-to-date
At US$1.42 billion wooden furniture imports were slightly
down in July (-1%) but year-to-July imports increased 3%.
Furniture imports from China were worth US$679.6
million in July, down 2% from June.
Vietnam¡¯s shipments of furniture to the US were
unchanged at US$261.8 million. Furniture imports from
Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia and India declined in July.
Wooden office furniture imports grew in July, while
imports of bedroom, upholstered, kitchen and other
Furniture market overall positive
New furniture orders increased 5% in June from the same
time last year, according to the Smith Leonhard industry
survey of residential furniture manufacturers and
distributors. About one half of the survey participants
reported order gains, while others experienced significant
declines in orders.
Upholstery orders were more positive according to
manufacturers and distributors. Year-to-date orders were
only slightly higher than in June 2015.
Furniture sales were up 2% in June from June 2015.
However, year-to-July shipments increased by less than
1% from last year.
Inventory levels at distributors and manufacturers
increased 3% from June 2015. Inventory growth slowed to
match business conditions, declining from May when a
6% increase was reported. Retail sales of furniture and
home furnishings increased 4% in July versus July last
year, according to the US Department of Commerce.
Housing supply lags demand
US Housing starts fell 5.8% in August to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million units, according to
data from the US Department of Housing and Urban
Development and the Commerce Department.
Construction of both single-family and multi-family
housing declined in August.
The National Home Builders Association describes the
August starts as a one-month blip in the gradual recovery
of the housing market. Compared to August 2015 housing
starts are up 9%.
Single-family home builders were optimistic about market
conditions in September, according to the National Home
Builder Association, despite the latest housing starts
figures. The inventory of new and existing homes is still
tight. Low interest rates support demand.
Single-family home construction is expected to strengthen
through to 2017. Single-family houses consume
approximately three times as much wood as multi-family
housing and more high-value wood products.
Existing home sales lost momentum this summer because
of low inventories, according to the National Association
of Realtors. Only the western region had higher home
sales. Despite low mortgage rates many Americans are not
able to afford to purchase homes because of a lack of
adequate supply and rising home prices.
US manufacturing contracted in August
GDPin the US increased at an annual rate of 1.1% in the
second quarter of 2016, according to the second estimate
released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Imports
increased in the second quarter, while investment in
residential and non-residential buildings declined.
The unemployment rate remained at 4.9% in August,
according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The manufacturing sector contracted in August for the first
time since February of this year, according to the Institute
of Supply Management.
Furniture and related products manufacturing was among
the 11 (out of a total of 18) industries that reported lower
economic activity in August. Wood product manufacturing
was unchanged from July.
Consumers optimistic about personal finances
According to the Surveys of Consumers University of
Michigan, consumer confidence was largely unchanged in
September from August and July.
Consumers expect income gains in the coming year, but
the main reason for their optimistic perception of personal
finances were expectations of low inflation both short and
Funding for commercialization of cellulosic
A new round of funding was announced in September for
the commercialisation of cellulosic nanomaterial. The US
Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the US
Endowment for Forestry and Communities will provide
approximately US$2.25 million for 7 to 8 projects.
Projects are expected to be funded in public private
partnership with companies.
The following topics are of particular interest:
environmental health and safety of cellulosic
nanomaterials, improving the interface between cellulosic
particles and composite resins, novel composites with
nanomaterials and advances in paper and packaging.