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Wood Products Prices in Europe

16 – 31th Mar 2022

 

Report from Europe  


   Prices rises drive increase in EU27+UK tropical wood
import value

In 2021, the EU27+UK imported 2.22 million tonnes of
tropical wood and wooden furniture with a total value of
USD4.93 billion, a gain of 8% and 27% respectively in
quantity and value terms. Compared to the pre-pandemic
level of imports in 2019, imports last year were up 12% in
value terms but still down 6% in quantity terms.


Chart 1 showing EU27+UK trade trends for the period
2004 to 2001 puts last year's trade figures into long term
perspective. The only other increase in tropical wood
import value comparable to 2021 occurred in 2007, the
last year of the bubble economy driven by abundant
liquidity and the real estate boom which immediately
preceded the financial crash of 2008-2009.


However, unlike in 2007, the actual quantity of imports
last year was in line with the long term average ĘC which
has remained static at around 2.2 million tonnes for the
last decade.


The increase in trade value last year was driven mainly by
the sharp increase in prices. The average unit price of all
EU27+UK tropical wooden furniture imports increased by
17% from USD1900 per tonne to USD2220 per tonne.
This occurred as severe supply shortages and a big rise in
freight rates coincided with the short-term surge in
demand due to higher refurbishment activity during
COVID lockdowns was further boosted last year by
COVID-recovery stimulus measures.


EU27+UK imports of tropical sawnwood down on pre-
COVID level

EU27+UK import value of tropical sawnwood was
US$806 million in 2021, up 14% on 2021 but down 1%
compared to 2019 before the pandemic. In quantity terms,
imports of 930,200 cu.m in 2021 were 11% higher than in
2020 but down 6% compared to 2019.


Average unit value of EU27+UK tropical sawnwood
imports was USD867 per cu.m in 2021. This was only a
slight increase compared to USD842 per cu.m in 2020, a
reflection of European importers heavy reliance on
tropical sawnwood from Africa for which prices increased
less dramatically during the pandemic than in other parts
of the world. The share of EU27+UK imports of tropical
sawnwood from African countries increased in 2021,
mainly at the expense of Brazil and Malaysia.


Imports of 351,200 cu.m from Cameroon in 2021 were
16% higher than in 2020 but 1% less than in 2019. For
Gabon, imports were 138,700 cu.m in 2021, up 35% on
2020 and 22% on 2019. Imports from Congo were 69,300
cu.m in 2021, 29% more than the previous year but still
down 9% compared to the pre-pandemic level in 2019.
Imports from Côte d'Ivoire were 31,300 cu.m in 2021, up
8% compared to 2020 but down 20% on 2019. Imports
from Ghana were 27,200 cu.m in 2021, a gain of 31%
compared to 2020 and 2% up on 2019.


While EU27+UK imports of tropical sawnwood from
African countries recovered ground last year, imports from
Brazil and Malaysia continued to slide. Imports of 121,200
cu.m in 2021 from Brazil were 6% less than in 2020 and
20% down on 2019. For Malaysia, imports of 91,400 cu.m
were 13% less than the previous year and 23% down
compared to 2019 (Chart 2).


Switch from Brazil to Indonesia in EU27+UK decking
imports

EU27+UK import value of tropical decking/mouldings
was US$350 million in 2021, up 25% and 6% compared to
2020 and 2019 respectively. In quantity terms, imports of
190,100 tonnes in 2021 were 7% higher than in 2020 but
down 2% compared to 2019.


Average unit value of EU27+UK tropical
mouldings/decking imports was USD1840 per tonne in
2021, a 17% increase compared to USD1570 per tonne the
previous year. The sharp increase in unit value is
indicative of significant supply shortfalls and rising freight
rates at a time when demand was booming in Europe.


As for sawnwood, imports of decking/mouldings from
both Brazil and Malaysia continued to slide in 2021.
Imports from Brazil, at 68,300 tonnes, were 10% less than
in 2020 and 16% less the pre-pandemic level in 2019.
Imports from Malaysia were 8,700 tonnes, down 12%
compared to 2020 and 28% less than in 2019.


In contrast, and despite widespread reports of supply
shortages for Indonesian bangkirai decking, imports of
mouldings/decking from Indonesia were 69,500 tonnes in
2021, 16% more than the previous year and 10% up on
2019. Imports of mouldings/decking from Peru were
14,300 tonnes last year, 48% more than in 2020 and 31%
up on 2019. Imports from Gabon were 9,500 tonnes in
2021, 65% and 25% more than in 2020 and 2019
respectively. (Chart 3).

Rebound in EU27+UK log imports from Congo
EU27+UK import value of tropical logs was US$60
million in 2021, 43% more than in 2020 and a gain of 10%
compared to 2019.


In quantity terms, imports of 109,300 cu.m were 33%
more than in 2020 but only 1% compared to 2019. Unit
value increased from USD506 per cu.m in 2020 to 546 per
cu.m last year.


Imports of 46,700 cu.m from Congo, now by far the
largest supplier of tropical logs to the European region,
were 46% and 27% more than in 2020 and 2019
respectively. EU27+UK log imports from CAR also
recovered significant ground last year, at 19.500 cu.m,
58% more than in 2020 and 4% up on 2019.


Imports from DRC were 11,000 cu.m last year, 49% more
than in 2020 but still down 21% compared to 2019.
Imports from Liberia increased 2% to 6,000 cu.m in 2021
but still trailed the 2019 level by 24% (Chart 4).

Gabon more dominant in EU27+UK imports of tropical
veneer
EU27+UK import value of tropical veneer was US$208
million in 2021, 18% more than in 2020 and a 6% gain
compared to 2019. In quantity terms, imports were
306,600 cu.m in 2021, a gain of 11% compared to 2020
and 4% compared to 2019. Unit value of veneer imports
was USD680 per cu.m in 2021, 6% more than in 2020.


EU27+UK tropical veneer imports are almost exclusively
derived from Africa, with Gabon by far the largest
supplier. Imports from Gabon were 163,700 cu.m in 2021,
7% more than in 2020 and 25% more than in 2019.


At 66,000 cu.m, veneer imports from Côte d'Ivoire were
20% more than in 2020 but still down 7% compared to
2019. Imports of 31,300 cu.m from Cameroon were 23%
more than in 2020 but 18% less than in 2019.

Veneer imports from Congo were 18,000 cu.m in 2021,
41% more than in 2020 and exactly matching the 2019
level. Imports from Equatorial Guinea were 5,700 cu.m in
2021, 41% down compared to 2020 and 48% less than in
2019 (Chart 5).

Indonesia overtakes China as largest tropical plywood
supplier to EU27+UK
EU27+UK import value of tropical plywood was US$312
million in 2021, up 31% compared to 2020 but only just
matching the 2019 level. In volume terms, imports of
474,600 cu.m in 2021 were 3% up compared to 2020 but
18% down compared to 2019. Unit value of tropical
plywood imported into the EU27+UK last year was
USD658 per cu.m, 27% more than the previous.


In addition to the sharp rise in freight rates and generally
higher international prices for plywood, the increase in
unit value is also due to a significant shift in the balance of
EU27+UK imports away from cheaper Chinese product
towards higher value products, particularly from
Indonesia, Gabon and Morocco.


EU27+UK imports of tropical hardwood faced plywood
from China were 138,500 cu.m in 2021, 26% less than in
2020 and 48% down compared to 2019. Meanwhile,
imports from Indonesia increased to such an extent that the
country overtook China as the largest supplier of tropical
plywood into the region.


EU27+UK imports from Indonesia were 153,400 cu.m in
2021, 37% more than in 2020 and a gain of 4% compared
to 2019. In contrast imports from Malaysia lost ground in
2021, falling 6% to 70,000 m3, after rising 23% the
previous year despite logistical problems created by the
pandemic.


There were positive trends in EU27+UK imports of
tropical hardwood plywood from Gabon, Morocco and
Thailand in 2021.


Imports from Gabon were 37,300 cu.m during the year,
39% and 32% more than in 2020 and 2019 respectively.
Imports from Morocco were 14,800 cu.m, 32% and 26%
more than in 2020 and 2019 respectively. Imports of
plywood from Thailand were 8,600 cu.m last year, 65%
more than in 2020 and more than double the 2019 level.


EU27+UK imports of tropical hardwood plywood from
Brazil were 15,400 cu.m last year, a gain of 23%
compared to 2020 but still down 20% compared to 2019
(Chart 10).

Indonesia extends lead in EU27+UK imports of tropical
joinery products
The value of EU27+UK imports of joinery products from
tropical countries - mainly comprising wood doors,
laminated window scantlings and kitchen tops, and
flooring components - increased 32% to US$510 million
in 2021. Import value was also up 24% compared to the
pre-pandemic level in 2019.


In quantity terms, imports of 188,300 tonnes in 2021 were
11% more than the previous year and up 6% compared to
2019. Unit value of tropical joinery imports was USD2710
per tonne, 20% more than USD2270 per tonne the
previous year.


By far the largest gains in the European market for tropical
joinery products were made by Indonesia last year. The
EU27+UK imported 102,000 tonnes of joinery products
from Indonesia in 2021, 28% more than the previous year
and 17% up compared to 2019.

Imports from Viet Nam also made gains last year, at
19,600 tonnes, 11% more than in 2020 and 10% up on
2019.


This contrasts with Malaysia, for which imports of 53,100
tonnes were 5% less than in 2020 and down 2% compared
to the 2019 level. Imports from Brazil fell even more
dramatically, at only 4,100 tonnes in 2021, down 41%
compared to the previous year and 48% less than in 2019
(Chart 7).

Rising EU27 wooden furniture imports from Vietnam,
Indonesia, and India
EU27+UK import value of wooden furniture from tropical
countries was US$2.32 billion in 2021, 33% and 21%
higher than in 2020 and 2019 respectively. For all three
leading tropical supply countries of wooden furniture to
the EU27+UK ĘC Vietnam, Indonesia, and India - import
value in 2021 was significantly higher even than in 2019
before the pandemic.


However, the rise in value was due more to rising prices
and freight costs than to an increase in the quantity of
furniture being traded. In tonnage terms, EU27+UK
imports of wooden furniture from tropical countries
increased only 9% to 548,200 tonnes.


Import quantity last year was still 3% down compared to
the pre-pandemic level in 2019. The unit value of wooden
furniture imported into the EU27+UK was USD4,224 per
tonne in 2021, 22% more than the previous year.


In 2021, the EU27+UK imported 206,300 tonnes of
wooden furniture from Vietnam with a total value of
USS928 million, respectively 4% and 24% more than the
previous year.


Imports from India were 115,800 tonnes with a total value
of US$450 million in 2021, respectively 40% and 61%
more than the previous year.


Imports from Indonesia last year were 100,800 tonnes with
a total value of US$537 million, 13% and 46% more than
in 2020.


For Malaysian wood furniture, import quantity declined
9% to 94,200 tonnes while value increased 9% to US$241
million in 2021 (Chart 8).



Abbreviations

LM       Loyale Merchant, a grade of log parcel  Cu.m         Cubic Metre
QS        Qualite Superieure    Koku         0.278 Cu.m or 120BF
CI          Choix Industriel                                                       FFR           French Franc
CE         Choix Economique                                                        SQ              Sawmill Quality
CS         Choix Supplimentaire      SSQ            Select Sawmill Quality
FOB      Free-on-Board     FAS            Sawnwood Grade First and
KD        Kiln Dry                               Second 
AD        Air Dry        WBP           Water and Boil Proof
Boule    A Log Sawn Through and Through MR              Moisture Resistant
              the boards from one log are bundled                      pc         per piece      
              together                      ea                each      
BB/CC  Grade B faced and Grade C backed MBF           1000 Board Feet          
              Plywood   MDF           Medium Density Fibreboard
BF        Board Foot F.CFA         CFA Franc        
Sq.Ft     Square Foot              Price has moved up or down

Source:ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report

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