The Timber Trade Federation¡¯s (TTF) latest Statistical Bulletin shows a
continued growth in the volume of timber and panel products imported to the
UK market in the first four months of the year.
The volume of imports was 5% higher compared to the same period of 2015,
mainly due to an increase in the imports of panel products. Major growth
sectors included Brazil - which saw a 31% growth in volume of softwood
plywood exported to the UK compared to 2015 - and Indonesia, which increased
its export of hardwood plywood by 53% in volume.
However, the value of softwood imports declined over the same period in 2015
by around 7.5%: sawn goods were down by around 8%, while planed goods were
6.5% lower. This is linked to currency fluctuations during this period.
In light of the EU Referendum vote, this month¡¯s TTF Statistics also offers
an insight into softwood imports from the European Union.
Following on from 2015 trends, in the four months to April 2016, 92% of
total UK softwood imports came from the EU. Sweden is by far the largest
supplier of softwood to the UK market accounting nearly 50% of the trade
with the EU. Other strong EU trade partners include Latvia and Finland.
Of non-EU countries, the great majority of softwood trade is with Russia
which accounts for nearly 80% of the softwood imported into the UK from
outside the European Union. Canada and Norway make up most of the remainder.
David Hopkins, managing director of the TTF, said: ¡°These statistics show
the continued reliance on trade with the EU for the softwood market, though
other countries seem ready to increase their market share. We will be
following these statistics up with an event in September looking at the
potential impacts of the EU referendum vote on the UK timber trade and
forecasts for the future.¡±