Decline in US imports of ipe sawnwood in October
US imports of temperate and tropical sawn hardwood
grew by 13% in October to 71,024 cu.m. The growth was
largely in imports of tropical sawnwood. Tropical imports
jumped 32%, while imports of temperate species increased
Tropical sawnwood imports were 22,107 cu.m. in October.
The value of these imports increased by just 15% from
September to US$21.7 million.
The discrepancy between volume and value growth is due
to lower ipe sawnwood imports in October. Ipe along with
teak are the highest priced hardwoods imported, and both
declined in October. Brazil exported 2,409 cu.m. of ipe
sawnwood to the US, down 13% from September.
Imports of most other key tropical species increased in
October. Imports of sapelli and acajou d¡¯Afrique more
than doubled from the previous month to 4,090 cu.m. and
2,583 cu.m., respectively.
However, year-to-date imports of acajou d¡¯Afrique were
lower than in October last year. Both Cameroon and
Congo shipped higher volumes of sapelli to the US.
The growth in acajou d¡¯Afrique imports in October came
mostly from Ghana and Congo.
Imports from Malaysia were up 65% in October. Both
keruing and meranti shipments were up, with keruing
sawnwood from Malaysia at 1,487 cu.m.
Canada imports more tropical sawnwood from the US
Canadian imports of tropical sawnwood were worth
US$1.65 million in October, slightly down from the
previous month and also year-to-date from October 2016.
The drop was in the combined category of virola, imbuia
Mahogany imports more than tripled from the previous
month last year to US$339,433. Year-to-date mahogany
imports were also up compared to the same time last year.
Higher mahogany shipments into Canada were reported
from a range of sources, but primary from Brazil and
More tropical sawnwood reached Canada via its southern
neighbor in 2017 to date. The US was the only major
supplier that significantly increased tropical shipments to
Canada this year. In October, Canadian imports from the
US accounted for 7% of the value of total US tropical
US International upholds duties against China and
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled on
December 1 that China dumped subsidized hardwood
plywood in the US market and that as a consequence, the
domestic industry is materially injured, or threatened with
US imports of Chinese hardwood plywood increased 22%
from 2014 to 2016, according to data used by the
Commission. The ITC also ruled that hardwood plywood
imports from China will not be subject to retroactive
antidumping or countervailing duties.
Member organizations of the American Alliance for
Hardwood Plywood, who purchase or distribute plywood
from China, are alarmed by the ruling and the high duties.
The US Department of Commerce set an antidumping
duty of 183.6% and countervailing duties of up to 194.9%.
According to the American Alliance for Hardwood
Plywood, up to half the world¡¯s supply of hardwood
plywood may be unavailable to US manufacturers, which
would create an economic advantage for competitors
outside the US.
The US International Trade Commission also voted for the
antidumping and countervailing duties on sawn softwood
from Canada. Despite the duties, Canadian sawmills have
not cut production because of record-high prices and
strong demand in the US market, which depends for about
one third of its demand on imports.
Positive outlook for 2018 US hardwood flooring
Hardwood flooring consumption increased 5.9% in 2016,
according to a market research report released by Catalina
Growth in laminate flooring was much lower at less than
1%. The US hardwood flooring market was worth
US$3.64 billion in 2016.
In laminate flooring imports have grown, especially from
Asia, but US producers hope that the new federal
formaldehyde emission requirements will provide a
competitive advantage to domestic manufacturers.
Competition from non-wood hard surface floors,
especially luxury vinyl tile and wood plastic/polymer
composites, is another concern for wood flooring
The hardwood flooring market outlook for 2018 is
positive. The National Hardwood Flooring Association
carried out a survey among its members this year and
more than 70% expect sales to grow at least 3% in 2018.
One third of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and
contractors expect sales to grow 8% or more.