US hardwood plywood imports dip in January
US imports of hardwood plywood declined by 15% in
January from the previous month but were nearly even
with totals from January 2018. While China remains the
largest supplier, import volume continue to fall being
down 51% from December and 35% from the previous
Vietnam and Russia continue to make up the difference
with gains of 13% and 22% respectively. Imports from
Vietnam were nearly three times higher in January 2019
than in January 2018.
Sawn tropical hardwood imports surge
After showing no growth in 2018, US imports of sawn
tropical hardwood had a promising start for 2019. January
imports rose by 32% over December and were 40% higher
than January 2018.
The volume of imports from Ecuador, Brazil, Cameroon
and Malaysia were all up sharply.
Monthly imports of teak, keruing, ipe and acajou
d¡¯Afrique were all more than double that of January 2018.
Tropical veneer imports disappoint
US imports of tropical hardwood veneer fell by 10% in
January, starting the year sluggishly after a strong 2018.
Imports lagged 18% behind that of January 2018. While
imports from China improved by 53% over a poor
December showing, they remain down nearly 70% from
2018 levels. Imports from Italy fell by 35% in January
and lag behind last year by 17%.
Imports from India and Cote d¡¯Ivoire both saw strong
gains in January.
Weakening Chinese imports drives down flooring
Hardwood flooring and assembled flooring panel imports
were weaker in January. US imports of hardwood flooring
declined by 29% from December totals, but were still
ahead of January 2018 by 30%. A sharp decline of 67% in
Chinese imports brought down the totals, despite strong
gains from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brazil.
Imports of assembled flooring panels were down by 10%
in January, but ahead of January 2018 by 17%. Falling
Chinese imports were again the culprit. Imports from
China were down by nearly 60%.
Moulding imports start 2019 badly ¨C the worst month
US imports of hardwood mouldings fell sharply in
January. Imports declined by 33% in January and trail
January of 2018 totals by 35%.
Imports of US$10.9 million January were the lowest of
this decade. Imports from Brazil and China fell by 41%
and 53% respectively.
Wooden furniture imports drop ¨C prospects dim
US imports of wooden furniture dropped by 11% in
January to US$1.73 billion. That figure is still up 3%
from January 2018. Imports fell 26% from China and
19% from India in January. Imports from Vietnam and
Malaysia both rose by more than 10%.
The results of the latest Smith Leonard survey of
residential furniture manufacturers and distributors
showed an 8% increase in new orders in January 2019
compared to January 2018. Yet the survey found that not
all participants are benefitting. Only half of the
respondents reported increased orders for the month.
Many reported slight declines.
Furniture shipments were up by 14% over January 2018
and nearly three quarters of respondents reported increased
shipments for the month.
Consumer confidence improving
US consumer confidence is improving faster than most
Wall Street economists had expected following the stock
market's selloff in December. The University of
Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment for March
jumped to a reading of 97.8, up from 93.8 in February.
Economists had expected a reading of 95.5, based on
estimates from the data provider FactSet.
The gains came largely from households in the bottom
two-thirds of the income distribution. The new reading
comes amid reports that despite a projected slowdown this
year in the economy American workers are seeing faster
wage increases, with the US unemployment rate currently
at 3.8%, close to the lowest in a half century.