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  UK Timber and panel imports on the increase in 2023
[Jan 12, 2024]

Latest statistics from Timber Development UK (TDUK) show 2023 import volumes catching up on the previous year.

The gap between the cumulative annual volume of timber and panel imports into the UK during the first 10 months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022 has narrowed further, according to the TDUK¡¯s report.

TDUK Timber Statistics Industry Facts & Figures, January 2024, shows the deficit at around 123,000m3, down from 184,000m3 at the time of the previous report. This represents a reduction of 1.5% over the first 10 months of 2022.

The statistics also reveal a 9.1% growth in October ¨C the fifth consecutive month growth has taken place in the volume of the main timber, panels and engineered wood products imported by the UK.

Softwood import volumes were up 1.7% in the January-October year-on-year comparison, with cumulative volume at 4,991,000m3 (2022:4,909,000m3).

The countries most responsible for the increase are Sweden, which upped its volumes by 17% over the 10-month period, and Finland, which boosted its volumes to the UK by 8%

However, the value of softwood imports in January-October 2023 was 25% lower year-on-year.

Hardwood imports were down by 22.7%, with cumulative volume for January-October 2023 at 390,000m3 (2022: 504,000m3). Within that total, tropical hardwood imports were down 10.5% at 73,000m3 (2022: 82,000m3) and temperate hardwoods were down 12.9% at 225,000m3 (2022: 258,000m3).

The average prices of hardwood have risen and stayed high, unlike other timber and panel products, notes the TDUK.

Total plywood imports were down 11.9% in the 10-month comparison periods, with cumulative volume from January-October 2023 at 1,031,000m3 (2022: 1,171,000m3).

Within this, hardwood plywood imports were down 14.1%, with cumulative volume from January-October 2023 at 731,000m3 (2022: 851,000m3).

Softwood plywood imports were down 6.2%, with cumulative volume from January-October at 300,000m3 (2022: 320,000m3).

Chipboard imports were down 7.4% in January-October 2023 year-on-year, with cumulative volume at 514,000m3 (2022: 555,000m3).

OSB imports were up 24.1%, with cumulative volumes from January-October 2023 at 371,000m3 (2022: 299,000m3).

MDF imports were up 4.5%, with cumulative volumes for the 10-month period at 653,000m3 (2022: 624,000m3).

Source: TDUK