US hardwood plywood imports recovered in November
US imports of hardwood plywood increased in volume by
11% in November but are still down 20% year to date
from 2017. Gains were sharp in November from the many
countries gaining from cooling US trade with China.
Imports from Malaysia and Indonesia were both up nearly
50% for November and are now ahead by around twothirds
for the year to date.
Imports of plywood from China, while gaining 4% in
November, are down 76% year to date. China, which in
2017 held nearly half of the US import market in
hardwood plywood, is now well behind Indonesia in
volume sent to the US this year.
Although the volume of hardwood plywood is down, total
sales in dollars are ahead by 9% year to date, due to higher
prices for the types of panel being sold.
Sawn tropical hardwood imports dip
US Imports of sawn tropical hardwood fell by 3% in
November to 19,791 cubic meters, which is 10% higher
than November 2017.
Year to date, imports are behind by 10% with Ecuadorian
imports down by a quarter. Imports of balsa fell by 15%
in November and are more than 25% behind 2017 imports
year to date. Sapelli and Acajou d¡¯Afrique both gained
sharply in November, but still remain down about 20%
year to date.
Jatoba and Keruing imports also gained in November and
are well ahead of 2017 year to date.
Veneer imports continue to wane
US imports of tropical hardwood veneer declined by 12%
in November, falling for the third straight month. The
decline is bringing imports back toward 2017 levels after a
much stronger early part of the year.
Year-to-date imports still outpace 2017 by 27% as imports
from India continue to grow, increasing by 17% in
November. Imports of veneer from India have more than
doubled in 2018 over 2017.
While Imports from China slipped by nearly a third in
November, year-to-date totals are still up 44%.
Flooring imports mixed in November
US Imports of hardwood flooring continued to be strong in
November, rising by 10% over October to a level nearly
double that of November 2017.
Imports from Chinese fell by 13% in November but
remain ahead of 2017 year to date by more than 60%.
Imports from Brazil were up 31% in November and are
also ahead year to date by more than 60%.
Malaysian exports of flooring are also very strong with
imports more than tripling in November for the strongest
month since October 2015. Malaysian imports are up 76%
year to date over 2017. Total imports are ahead of 2017
by 41% year to date.
Imports of assembled flooring have not been as robust,
declining by 6% in November. However, year-to-date
imports remain about 10% above 2017.
Moulding imports remain flat
US imports of hardwood moulding fell by 3% in
November, remaining fairly consistent as they have
throughout the year. Most trading countries have not
strayed more than 5% from 2017 year-to-date numbers all
year. The exception has been Canada, which now is 23%
behind year to date after dropping 9% in November.
Imports from Brazil also had been lagging, but a rise of
35% in November brought year-to-date imports even with
New furniture orders continue to rise - But at slower
The results of the latest Smith Leonard survey of
residential furniture manufacturers and distributors
indicated a 3% increase in new orders in November
compared to November 2017. This increase followed a 7%
increase reported in October and 9% increases in
September and August. Year to date, new orders remained
6% ahead of last year.
Existing home sales declined sharply in December
Total existing-home sales, released by the National
Association of Realtors, decreased 6.4% to a seasonally
adjusted rate of 4.99 million in December, after two
consecutive months of increase. Compared with a year
ago, sales decreased 10.3% in December, the lowest level
since November 2015. Total existing home sales include
single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and coops.
In 2018, the existing home sales remained sluggish due to
rising mortgage rates, growing home prices and tight
inventory. Though the sales bounced back in October after
six consecutive months of declines due to an increase in
inventory and slower home price growth, it still ended the
year on a low note. The total sales remained down at both
national and regional level compared to a year ago.
Regionally, existing home sales fell in all regions in
December compared to the previous month. Year-overyear,
sales declined in all four regions, ranging from 6.8%
in the Northeast to 15% in the West.