The general mood of hardwood traders attending the Interzum 2023 show in Cologne 9 to 12 May was that the overall market, having slowed dramatically in the second half of 2022 has remained very subdued this year. There were many references to economic uncertainty owing to the Ukraine war, extremely high energy costs, rising inflation leading in turn to higher interest rates, and consumers becoming increasingly cautious after two years of high spending immediately after lockdowns. The boom in home improvement that started in the pandemic and helped drive hardwood sales in Europe, and which was encouraged by government stimulus measures, is now well and truly over.
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