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UK Timber imports saw steady growth heading into Q3 of 2023
[Nov. 10, 2023]

July was the second consecutive month that timber imports were higher than in 2022, according to the latest Timber Development UK (TDUK) statistics.

Import volumes across all timber categories were 5% higher in July 2023 compared to the same period last year. This follows initial growth in June, where total volumes were up 2.2% compared to 2022.

OSB and MDF were core drivers of this steady increase, with volumes up 32% and 7% respectively.

Though overall 2023 levels remain below last year, the deficit in import volume continues to reduce, down to 5% in January to July compared to 7% in January to June.

This biggest yearly gap is seen in the hardwood category, down 24% on last year.

This, says TDUK, is largely due to the record totals seen in 2022.

¡°As seen in July, volumes are now fluctuating in a more gradual fashion, with buyers importing timber at a more realistic pace compared to the previous three years,¡± said TDUK head of technical and trade Nick Boulton.

¡°Going forward, the market picture remains gloomy following the release of the CPA¡¯s latest forecast, which predicted a 19% decline in private housing and an 11% decline in RMI heading into 2024.

¡°Housing and RMI are the core drivers of timber demand, however, with high interest rates and sticky inflation, both sectors will continue to struggle in autumn/winter.

Mr Boulton said the UK Government would release its Timber in Construction Roadmap next month which looks to outline policies capable of expanding low-carbon timber construction, particularly in housing.

Source:  TDUK