TIMBER and panel import volumes performed strongly in October 2020 for the fifth consecutive month since June, according to the latest timber statistics for October 2020.

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) monthly report revealed total import volumes for main timber and panel products were 21 per cent higher in October 2020 compared to October 2019 levels, as import volumes in the month soared above the 1 million m³ mark.

However, even this strong performance cannot compensate for the loss of import volume in Q2, meaning the ten months to October 2020 is still 11 per cent below, compared to the same time last year. Solid wood imports were 8 per cent below the same period in 2019 and panel product imports were 15 per cent lower.

The main drivers of growth in the early Autumn were OSB and softwood imports, supported by higher volumes of plywood and MDF compared to the same period in 2019.

Collectively, these four products have led to a 15 per cent (377,000 m³) increase in the latest three months (August–October 2020) for which data are available.

Forestry Journal:

Softwood import volume topped over 700,000 m³ in October 2020, the highest October volume since 2003. The main contributors were Sweden and Latvia with Germany and Russia also exporting more to the UK in the month compared to October 2019.

OSB imports in October 2020 were 54,000 m³, the highest in the ten months to October, and a 68 per cent increase from the volumes seen in October 2019 (32,000 m³).

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MDF imports continued a steady increase reaching its highest monthly total in 2020 with 77,000 m³ and an 18 per cent increase from October 2019 (65,000 m³).

Plywood imports continued to show a strong recovery, reaching triple figures for the second consecutive month with 111,000 m³ in October 2020, slightly bettering the previous year’s imports (October 2019, 107,000 m³.)

David Hopkins, CEO of the Timber Trade Federation, said: “This year has seen demand increase considerably across all products, while supply chains have been severely disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is good to see imports rebound so strongly.”

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