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Timber and panel import volumes ‘back on track’ for 2020

Timber and panel import volumes are ‘back on track’ for 2020 following a sharp rise in July, according to the latest timber statistics for July 2020. A Timber Trade Federation (TTF) report reveals total import volumes for main timber and panel products were approximately one percent below July 2019 levels, with 866,000m3 arriving in the UK.

The one percent difference in volumes between the two months (July 2020 and July 2019) was the lowest percentage reduction in volume since April 2019. These volumes were higher than the TTF originally predicted and raise the TTF’s forecast for total timber imports to the UK in 2020 to around 8.4 million m3 (approx. 19 percent lower than 2019).

Imports across all major individual product categories, softwood, hardwood, and panel products, have been on the rise. For the first time in 2020, softwood import volumes exceeded 2019 levels as 580,000m3 were imported in July 2020 compared to 514,000m3 in July 2019.

Hardwood imports increased to 40,000 m3 in July 2020, which while still 5,000m3below July 2019 figures, represents a 54 percent increase over June 2020. Imports for panel products have increased during June and July, with OSB and MDF leading the way.

OSB imports in July 2020 were 46,000m3, a 48 percent increase from the volumes seen in June 2020, and 8,000m3  more than July 2019 (38,000m3). MDF imports for June and July are almost double May’s imports (27,000m3), reaching 57,000m3 in June and 52,000m3 in July 2020.

David Hopkins, CEO of the Timber Trade Federation, says:  “These figures are a good signal of a strengthening market. They will go some way to helping rebuild stocks and meet rising demand for timber products. The huge surge we’ve seen in DIY projects along with increased global demand has been unprecedented and caused spikes and longer lead times across certain product categories. This rise in imports should start to help ease that pressure, especially if the trend continues over the coming months.”

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