Tropical sawn hardwood imports rebound
US imports of sawn tropical hardwood rebounded in
October, rising 28% after two months of decline. Unlike
September¡¯s low numbers, the 8,198 cubic metres
imported in October is more in line with the volume we
have seen most months this year. Imports from nearly all
trading partners increased greatly in October.
Imports of Sapelli more than doubled in October and are
up 19% year to date through October while imports of
Keruing grew by 19% and are up 15% year to date.
Imports of Padauk were the highest since March and
Virola imports bounced back from a very weak
Overall imports are officially down year to date by 36%,
however that is misleading since Ip¨¦ and Jatoba were
removed from the official category by the US Department
of Agriculture earlier this year. Counting Jatoba and Ip¨¦,
sawn tropical hardwood imports are up 21% so far this
Hardwood plywood imports edge upward
Imports of hardwood plywood rose 3% in October. The
October import volume of 315,513 cubic metres is more
than 20% above that of October 2020. Imports from
Russia rose 41% from the previous month and are ahead
23% year to date.
Imports from Malaysia are also up 24% year to date
despite declining by 34% in October. Overall import
volume is ahead of last year by 32% through October.
Veneer imports recover
US imports of tropical hardwood veneer in October were
double that of the previous month as imports recovered
somewhat from an anemic September. Imports from China
bounced back from no recorded imports in September to a
level more than 50% higher than the previous October.
Imports from Italy also recovered strongly but were still
only about half that of October 2020. Imports from
Cameroon rose 203% but still lag year to date by 20%.
Overall imports are down 2% year to date.
Hardwood flooring imports remain strong despite
US imports of hardwood flooring retreated for the second
straight month. Yet, despite a 7% month-to-month decline,
imports remained 25% higher than that of the previous
October. Strong increases in imports from Indonesia and
Malaysia mostly made up for steep declines in imports
from Vietnam, China, and Brazil. Overall imports remain
well ahead of last year, up 38% year to date.
Imports of assembled flooring panels held steady in
October, rising by less than 1%. Imports from China rose
by 61% in October and are up 25% year to date. Imports
from Indonesia and Vietnam fell 25% and 11%,
Imports from both countries remain up more than 50% for
the year to date. However, all year-to-date numbers should
be viewed as inflated in 2021 as the USDA added two
additional categories to the Assembled Flooring Panels
category in May.
Moulding imports rise to new high
Imports of hardwood mouldings rose 4% in October,
setting a record for 2021. Imports from Brazil rose 34%
and were more than 25% better than the previous October.
After lagging most of the year, imports from Brazil are
now up 2% over 2020 year to date.
Imports from China also rose, gaining 5% over last month
to nearly twice that of last October. However, imports
from China still trail 2020 by 45% year to date. Overall
U.S imports of hardwood mouldings are up 25% year to
date through October.
Wooden furniture imports ¨C October slowest month in
more than a year
US imports of wooden furniture tumbled again in October,
falling 11% to a level not seen since July 2020. October
imports were US$1.65 billion, well below totals that had
routinely topped US$2 billion each month for most of the
past year. Most of the recent decline has been due to
falling imports from Vietnam, which dropped 38% in
October after a similar rate of decline in September.
Despite the drop off, imports from Vietnam remain up
45% year to date due to the string of record months earlier
in the year. Overall wooden furniture imports are up 38%
year to date through October.
These numbers reflect the overall US furniture market.
New orders for residential furniture dropped 20% in
September 2021 versus September 2020, according to
Smith Leonard in its latest Furniture Insights survey.
¡°At first glance, the September 2021 results would be
alarming, but one has to look beyond the first glance,¡± said
the Smith Leonard report.
¡°New orders in September 2021 were down 20% from
September 2020, but the look beyond showed that
September 2020 orders were up 43%. So, we looked to
compare 2021 with 2019 and found that September 2021
orders were up 15% over 2019.¡± Orders were up 21% over
2020 and up 32% over the first nine months of 2019.
Cabinet sales remain flat in October
US cabinet manufacturers reported an overall sales gain of
less than 1% in October, according to the Kitchen Cabinet
Manufacturers Association¡¯s (KCMA) monthly Trend of
Business Survey. Participating manufacturers reported
semi-custom sales rose 5.0% while stock sales went up
1.1%. Custom sales dropped 11.9%.
Compared with the previous October, overall cabinet sales
increased by 6.7%. Custom sales rose 10.4%, but semicustom
sales dipped by 0.6%. Stock sales were up 11.2%.
Sales so far this year remain healthy with overall cabinet
sales up 14.7%, custom sales up 20.1%, semi-custom sales
up 11.5%, and stock sales up 16.0%.
Weaker than expected jobs increase masks other good
The US economy created far fewer jobs than expected in
November, in a sign that hiring started to slow even ahead
of the new Covid threat, the Labor Department reported.
Non-farm payrolls increased by just 210,000 for the
month, yet the unemployment rate fell sharply to 4.2%
from 4.6%, even though the labor force participation rate
increased for the month to 61.8%, its highest level since
While the headline number was disappointing, the
household survey painted a brighter picture, with an
addition of 1.1 million jobs as the labor force increased by
The manufacturing sector added 31,000 jobs in November.
Other sectors showing the biggest gains in November
included professional and business services (90,000),
transportation and warehousing (50,000) and construction
(31,000). Meanwhile, hiring in leisure and hospitality was
sluggish and retail lost jobs despite the traditional holiday
US doubles tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber
The US Commerce Department has followed through with
expected increases in anti-dumping and countervailing
duties on Canadian softwood lumber producers, placing
tariffs of 17.99% on their imports, more than twice the rate
of 8.99% during the Trump administration.
"These unjustified duties harm Canadian communities,
businesses, and workers," said Mary Ng, Canada's
Minister of International Trade, in a sharply worded
However, US lumber producers welcomed the stiffer
penalties on what they have alleged for more than a
decade was unfair competition due to government
subsidies by Canada to its mills and producers.
This conflict goes back decades and involves stumpage
fees and clean energy subsidies that the Canadian
government provides companies such as governmentoperated
electricity utilities which pass the savings along
to mills in their territories. American producers insist that
such subsidies create an unfair market advantage for their