Hardwood plywood imports down in November
US imports of hardwood plywood declined to 227,148
cu.m in November, down 35% from the previous month.
Year-to-date imports are 16% higher than in 2012. China
is the only major supplier with lower imports in 2013, as
the antidumping investigation of Chinese plywood created
uncertainty in the market.
Hardwood plywood imports from Malaysia increased to
12,218 cu.m in November (+12%), but imports from most
other countries declined. China‟s shipments decreased to
125,988 cu.m (-25%) from the previous month. Imports
from Indonesia fell to 16,544 m3 (-81%).
Continued growth in hardwood moulding imports from
Hardwood moulding imports increased to $16.0 million
(+15%). Imports from China grew by 15% to $5.2 million.
Malaysian shipments rebounded from October. Imports
from Malaysia were worth $1.1 million in November, but
they remain below 2012 levels.
Flooring imports from Indonesia and Malaysia down
Hardwood flooring imports declined in November, while
imports of assembled flooring panels held steady. Total
imports year-to-date are lower than in 2012, despite the
recovery in the US housing market.
Hardwood flooring imports were worth $2.6 million in
November (-12%). Imports from Malaysia and Indonesia
fell, while China and Canada shipped more.
Indonesia‟s shipments of assembled flooring panels to the
US also declined. Imports from both China and Canada
increased. Total US imports of assembled flooring panels
were $8.8 million, virtually unchanged from October.
Higher furniture shipments from China
US imports of wooden furniture were worth $1.22 billion
in November, almost unchanged from the previous month.
Year-to-date imports are 6% higher than in 2012.
China.s furniture shipments to the US increased by 1% to
surpass $600 million in November. Imports from most
other suppliers declined. Imports from Vietnam were
down 1%, while Malaysia.s and Indonesia.s shipments
declined by 7%.
The largest decrease was in imports from Canada which
fell by 14% from the previous month.
Consumer confidence rebounds
Consumer confidence in the US economy rebounded in
December, according to the Thomson Reuters/University
of Michigan consumer sentiment index. Both lower and
higher income households were more confident about the
Consumers reported little growth in income, however,
except for households who have invested in the stock
Housing starts in 2013 set to be over 1 million
New housing starts surpassed the 1 million mark in
November 2013 (seasonally adjusted annual rate). The
number of housing starts increased by 23% from the
previous month to an annualised 1.09 million in
The strongest growth in construction was in the Midwest
(+42%), followed by the South (+39%) and the West
(+9%). In the Northeast, housing starts fell by 29%.
The number of building permits declined slightly in
November but it remained over 1 million units. The
number of building permits issued is an indicator of future
Canadian housing market steady
Canadian housing starts declined 3% in November to
192,000 (seasonally adjusted annual rate), according to the
Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation.
Construction in the west (Manitoba, Alberta and British
Columbia) increased, while fewer homes were built in
central and eastern Canada.
Sales of existing homes and home prices held steady from
October to November. Employment increased in
November, supporting demand for housing.
No improvement in private, public non-residential
US public spending on construction of offices,
commercial, health care and educational buildings in
November was steady from the previous month. Private
spending improved by 3% from October and reached its
highest level in 2013.
Despite this increase in spending, architecture firms
reported a slowdown in the non-residential business in
November. The slowdown was modest but across all
regions, according to the American Institute of Architects.
Unemployment down, GDP up
Employment improved significantly in December 2013.
The unemployment rate fell from 7.0% in November to
6.7% in December. Economic growth in the third quarter
of 2013 was again revised upward. The latest estimate is a
4.1% GDP growth at an annual rate.
Strong growth in domestic furniture manufacturing
The economy continued to expand in December,
according to the Institute for Supply Management.
Furniture manufacturing reported the highest growth rate
of all manufacturing industries.
Wood product manufacturing also increased in December,
albeit at a lower rate than furniture manufacturing. The
furniture industry reported higher imports and good
market conditions in December.
Wooden window market to grow 12% in 2014
The market share of wood windows in the total US
window market will be approximately 18% in 2014,
according to a market overview in the Wood Products
Almanac (December 2013).
The share of wood windows will be slightly lower than in
2013, but the number of wood window units shipped is
forecast to increase by 12% in 2014.
An estimated 9.2 million wood windows will be shipped
in 2014, up from 8.2 million in 2013. 4.1 million units will
be used in new construction, while 5.1 million units will
be used in remodeling projects or to replace existing
The total US window market will grow from 46.1 million
units in 2013 to 52.5 million units in 2014. 2015 demand
is projected to reach 57.5 million window units.
The largest growth will be in vinyl and fiberglass
windows. Vinyl is the most popular material in windows
because it is maintenance free while providing good
energy efficiency. Wood plastic composite is increasingly
used for windows, but its overall market share is still
Wood windows are primarily used in the high end market
where the appearance of wood is valued. Manufacturers
offer aluminium clad wood windows to reduce
maintenance on the exterior of homes. A recent trend has
been towards affordable fiberglass windows that are clad
in wood for a wood appearance in the home interior.
The US wood window market is relatively fragmented,
with the top 50 manufacturers accounting for 70% of the
market. Andersen, Jeld-Wen, Masonite, Pella and Marvin
are the largest window suppliers.
Comments needed on hardwood research and
The US Department of Agriculture has extended the
comment period for the proposed research and promotion
program for hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood.
The industry-funded program would carry out promotion
of US hardwood lumber and plywood to increase their
The new deadline for comments is February 18, 2014.
After that a referendum will be held among US
manufacturers on whether to implement the program.
Comments to the US Department of Agriculture can be
submitted online here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!home
(search for „hardwood lumber‟)
* The market information above has been generously provided by the
Chinese Forest Products Index Mechanism (FPI)