Russian hardwood plywood ¨C sanctions will impact
The US has announced it will downgrade its trade
relations with Russia in response to its invasion of
The broad trade shift, which revokes the ¡°most favored
nation¡± status for Russia, is being taken in coordination
with the European Union and Group of Seven
countries.Although many goods will be unaffected
because of earlier sanctions, import taxes will rise for
plywood and many other products.
In 2021, the US imported 558,526 cubic metres of
hardwood plywood from Russia, a 30% increase from
2019. TimberCheck, a website covering the US timber
industry, estimates that 10% of its hardwood plywood in
the United States originates directly from Russia.
In 2019, about 54.4% of the hardwood plywood consumed
by manufacturers in the United States was imported,
according to Marc Barany of TimberCheck. Barany added
that the other leading hardwood plywood suppliers ¨C
Vietnam and Indonesia ¨C ship large amounts of Russian
Birch hardwood plywood, so the amount of hardwood
plywood in the US originating from Russian forests is
probably much higher than 10%.
Ipe and Jatoba imports added back into US statistics
Imports of sawn tropical hardwood appeared to soar in
January, but the actual rise is difficult to tell as US
officials again reclassified its categories for counting some
The official count from the US Departments of
Agriculture and Commerce shows import volumes up
216% in January over December and 241% over January
of last year. This number is inflated because the sawn
tropical hardwood category changed in 2021 to omit
imports of Ipe and Jatoba.
Beginning this month, Ipe and Jatoba imports have
returned to the category, but may not count the woods the
same as they have previously. This seems most likely the
case in regarding Jatoba imports, where totals fell by 98%
versus last month, for the lowest volume of the last 10
Additionally, a category of ¡°other tropical¡± woods has
been eliminated from counting toward the total. Despite
the changes, it is clear that there was a definite spike in
overall imports as imports of Keruing more than
quadrupled, imports of Virola more than doubled, and
imports of Mahogany rose by 73%. Imports of Cedro and
Balsa both fell in January by more than 30%.
Perhaps because of the changes in accounting, official
tallies show huge gains in imports from Brazil, Indonesia
and Malaysia. Total volume rose to 26,160 cubic metres
for the month, the highest volume since May 2019.
Canada saw its imports of sawn tropical hardwood fall by
18% in January. However, the volume was 15% higher
than that of January 2021. Imports from Ghana were
especially strong in January, up 411% from the previous
January, while imports from Brazil and the US, though
both better than last month, were sharply behind January
Hardwood plywood imports at 10-year high
US imports of hardwood plywood rose 4% in January as
volume hit its highest level in the past 10 years. The
January import volume of 394,184 cubic metres was 83%
higher than that of last January on strong gains in imports
from Vietnam and Indonesia.
Imports from Vietnam set a record monthly high and
accounted for more than one third of all imports for the
month. Imports from Indonesia nearly doubled last
month¡¯s total and were up 31% over last January. Imports
from Russia were also up sharply but will be watched
closely in upcoming months as the US tightens its trade
policy with Russia.
Veneer imports climb
Imports of tropical hardwood veneer are off to a promising
start in 2022 as January totals rose 63% over the previous
month and were more than double that of January 2021.
The rise was led by imports from Italy, which nearly
quadrupled in January, and imports from Ghana and Cote
d¡¯Ivoire that were decidedly higher that last January.
Imports from India, while up sharply from December,
were still 40% short of their January 2021 level. Overall
imports were valued above US$2.7 million, the highest
level since June 2021.
Hardwood flooring imports flatten
US imports of hardwood flooring suffered a small decline
in January, falling by 2% to a level nearly unchanged from
that of the previous January. Advances in imports from
Brazil and Malaysia were offset by decreases in imports
from Vietnam and Indonesia.
Imports from China rose for the fourth straight month, up
4% over last month and 23% higher than last January.
Imports of assembled flooring panels pushed higher in
January, posting a solid 26% gain over the previous month
and a healthy 83% increase over last January. The rise was
fueled by a record month in imports from Thailand, which
more than doubled last month¡¯s total and was up 476%
over January 2021. Imports from Canada and Vietnam
also made gains.
Moulding imports dip
US imports of hardwood moulding fell 3% in January, but
still remain well above last year¡¯s levels. The monthly
decline was due to a 36% fall in imports from Brazil, as
imports from most other trade partners improved. Despite
the decline, imports from Brazil were 68% higher last
month than in January 2021. Imports from China,
Malaysia, and Canada were all up in January and were
well ahead of last January¡¯s totals.
US wooden furniture imports rebound
US imports of wooden furniture rose 10% in January to
break the $2 billion mark for the first time since August.
The US$2.14 billion imported last month was less than 1%
higher than that of January 2021. Imports from Vietnam,
while rising 37% from last month, were down 21% from
the previous January. Imports from China rose 2% in
January and were 12% higher than in January 2021, while
imports from Canada were up 3% versus last month and
up 23% over last January.
According to the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers
Association¡¯s (KCMA) monthly Trend of Business
Survey, participating cabinet manufacturers reported an
increase in overall cabinet sales of 11.7% for January 2022
compared to the same month in 2021. January 2022 sales
of all types of cabinets showed increases over January
2021 totals, with custom sales up 19.7%, semi-custom
sales up 0.9%; and stock sales up by 17.6%
The survey did reveal that the estimated cabinet quantity
decreased 3.0%, reflecting a rise in prices. December
capped a very strong 2021 for sales, with overall cabinet
sales in 2021 up 14.6% when compared with 2020.
Custom sales were up 19.5%, semi-custom sales were up
10.7%, and stock sales increased 16.4% compared with the