UK imports of hardwood products were rising strongly both in volume and value terms during the second half of 2021 and first half of this year as importers were building stocks on a rising market. However, in the third quarter this year the market has changed dramatically as import prices have fallen and UK importers are sitting on a lot of wood bought earlier at higher prices. This has occurred just at a time when consumption has weakened as the UK heads into recession and the GBP has fallen to the weakest ever level against the USD and is also declining against the EUR.
After the dislocation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the performance of the EU27 wood joinery sector was transformed in 2021. The main long-term trends in previous years were a continuous increase in joinery production in Germany offsetting a large decline in Italy and wood’s loss of share to other materials – particularly plastics – in windows and doors manufacturing. However, 2021 saw a sharp revival in wood joinery activity across the continent. Following three years of stagnation, production value of wood joinery and related products in the EU27 increased 16% to €38.22 billion in 2021. Last year, in value terms, total wood joinery activity across the EU27 was at the highest since before the 2008 financial crises (Chart 1).