Sharp Fall in UK Tropical Wood Imports in 2020 Likely to Be Short-Lived. ITTO European Market Report 15th March 2021

Total UK tropical wood and wood furniture imports in 2020 were USD981 million, 23% less than the previous year (Chart 1a). It is no surprise that imports fell so precipitously, the UK being amongst the world’s worst affected countries by the COVID-19 pandemic last year at a time when there was already uncertainty due to the country’s departure from the EU. However, UK imports from tropical countries did suffer a larger decline in the UK market than products from other regions, largely due to supply side problems, particularly lack of and rising costs of freight space from South East Asia during the year. But underlying demand is strong in the UK and new opportunities may well open up for tropical suppliers in the UK over the long term.

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Rebound in UK Tropical Wood Imports Slows in Closing Months of 2020. ITTO European Market Report 31st January 2021

The rebound in UK imports of tropical wood products as the first wave of the pandemic receded in summer last year slowed in the last quarter of 2020 as the country, like much of the rest of the Europe, reimposed lockdown measures in response to the second larger wave which hit at the start of the winter months. In addition to a slowdown in overall UK business activity at the end of 2020, there are also reports of severe supply problems in the UK building sector, including for products imported from South East Asia and China, due to limited container space and rising freight costs.   

Total value of UK imports of tropical wood and wood furniture months increased only slightly from US$98 million in October to US$100 million in November, but then receded again to US$95 million in November (Chart 1). Total UK tropical wood and wood furniture imports in the 11 months to November 2020 were US$892 million, 23% less than the same period in 2019.

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