In the first four months of this year, the value of EU imports of tropical wood and wood furniture totalled USD1.23 billion, a gain of 28% compared to the same period last year.
In terms of value, this was by far the highest level of trade for the four month period in the last five years. In fact trade value was at a level not seen since before the 2008-2009 financial crises.
Part of the gain in EU27 tropical wood product import value in the first four months of this year reflected a rise in CIF prices, driven both by continuing high freight rates and severe shortages of wood and other materials due to logistical challenges during the global pandemic.
In quantity terms, EU imports of tropical wood and wood furniture products in the first four months of this year were, at 669,000 tonnes, up 14% compared to the same period in 2021.
The curtailment of wood supplies from Russia and Belarus due to the sanctions imposed by the EU following the invasion of Ukraine in February is opening up new opportunities in the EU market for some tropical wood products, notably plywood and decking for which Russian birch and larch products have been important substitutes.
In the first four months of this year, tropical products accounted for 8.2% of the quantity of all wood and wood furniture products imported into the EU27, which compares to 6.9% during the same period in 2021. The gain in tropical wood share is due mainly to a 37% and 17% reduction in imports respectively from Russia and Belarus during this period.
However, larger beneficiaries of the opening supply gap so far this year have been Norway, China and Brazil (nontropical products only).
Rise in EU27 import value for nearly all tropical wood product groups
There were significant increases in the value of EU27 imports of most wood product groups from tropical countries in the first four months of this year.
For wood furniture, import value of USD691M during the January to April period was 18% more than the same period last year. For tropical sawnwood, import value of USD297M was 33% up on the same period last year.
Import value of tropical mouldings/decking was USD154M in the first four months of this year, a gain of 42% compared to the same period in 2021.
There were also large gains in the value of EU27 imports of tropical joinery products (+63% to USD102M), tropical veneer (+24% to USD74M), plywood (+50% to USD71M), marquetry (+88% to USD43M) and flooring (+40% to USD30M) in the first four months of this year.
Import value of tropical logs was USD17M between January and April, just 9% more than the same period last year.
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