The import value of tropical wood and wood furniture into the UK in the opening four months of this year were at an unprecedented level of USD565 million (Chart 1). That is 36% more than the same period in 2021 when imports were also high following a strong rebound after the downturn during the first COVID lockdown in 2020. In fact, this was by far the strongest start to the year in terms of UK import value of tropical wood and wood furniture products since at least before the 2008 financial crises. It compares to an average import value of less than USD380 million for the January to April period throughout the whole decade prior to the onset of the pandemic in 2019.
According to the European Sawmiller Organisation (EOS), production of sawn hardwood in Europe was significantly impacted by the coronavirus crisis in 2020 with a strong decline particularly in France and Germany. Overall sawn hardwood production declined from around 6 million m3 in 2019 to just above 5.5 million m3 in 2020. Continue reading “European Sawn Hardwood Production At Highest Level Since 2008. ITTO European Market Report 15th June 2022”
In the first three months of this year, the value of EU imports of tropical wood and wood furniture was at a level not seen for over a decade. Import value was USD1.05 billion in the first quarter, a gain of 22% compared to the same period last year. It was also 16% up on the last quarter in 2021 when trade was already at a decadal high for that period of the year (Chart 1).
The import value of tropical wood and wood furniture into the UK in the opening two months of this year were at record levels. In the January to February period, import value totalled US$270 million, 47% more than the same period in 2021 when imports were also high following a strong rebound after the downturn during the first COVID lockdown in 2020. In fact, this was by far the highest value import of tropical wood and wood furniture products into the UK in any two month period since at least before the 2008 financial crises.
Intense negotiations continue within the European Council and European Parliament towards agreement of a final text of the law “on the making available on the Union market as well as export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation”.
In 2021, the 27 countries of the EU together with the UK (UK27+UK) imported 609,000 m3 of hardwood veneer from outside the region, 17% more than in 2020. EU27+UK imports from temperate countries increased 23% to 303,000 m3 in 2021 while imports from the tropics were up 11% to 307,000 m3 (Chart 1).
In 2021, the EU27+UK imported 2.22 million tonnes of tropical wood and wood furniture with a total value of USD4.93 billion, a gain of 8% and 27% respectively in quantity and value terms. Compared to the pre-pandemic level of imports in 2019, imports last year were up 12% in value terms but still down 6% in quantity terms.
EU27 import value of wood and wood furniture products from tropical countries was USD3.69 billion in 2021, a gain of 23% compared to the previous year and 15% more than the pre-pandemic level in 2019. Imports finished the year strongly, the USD value of trade in November and December being at the highest level recorded for these two months for over a decade (Chart 1).
Intense negotiations are ongoing as the draft EU law on “deforestation-free” and “forest degradation-free” products, published by the European Commission (EC) on 17th November last year, navigates the various stages of the EU law-making process.
UK GDP increased 7.5% in 2021, the fastest annual growth rate in the UK since the second world war and making the UK one of the world’s fastest growing economies last year. But this “rise” must be considered in the light of the UK being amongst countries worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which led to a 9.4% fall in GDP in 2020 at a time when there was already uncertainty due to the country’s departure from the EU.