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.”