Timber imports on the rise again

Timber import statistics for November 2023 show that the market continued to improve in 2023, compared to 2022, with import volumes for the full year likely to be only slightly behind 2022 numbers.

Import volumes in the month of November 2023 were 0.9% higher than in November 2022. The deficit in the cumulative annual volume of the UK’s timber and panel imports after 11 months of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022, reduced once again to stand at around 117,000 m3 – down from 123,000 m3 the previous month. This cumulative reduction in volume of all imports in 2023 to November over 2022 was 1.3%.

Back in the spring of 2023 import volumes were on track to be the lowest since 2013, but imports during the second half of the year changed all of that.

This second-half rally was largely down to softwood, hardwood plywood, OSB and MDF imports.

Solid wood imports over the first 11 months of 2023 remain <1% lower than over the same period in 2022, with imports of panel products around 3% lower.

TDUK head of technical and trade, Nick Boulton, said: “It’s encouraging to see main timber import volumes have now seen six months of consecutive growth in the second half of 2023, with statistics for the year just 1.3% below 2022 levels.

“This supports our belief – and the CPA forecasts – that while the market may be challenging for the coming months, particularly in the core newbuild housing and RMI sectors, better times lie ahead.”

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