22 June 2022

Import of hardwoods such as French oak surge in Q1 2022

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The import of French oak, a popular material choice for joiners and interior designers, due to its beauty and high performance, more than doubled to reach 21,300 m³ in this period, now accounting for 41% of all oak imports.


Overall oak import volumes grew by 38%, as compared with Q1 2021. In addition to France, significant growth also came from lower-priced oak imports from Romania, which rose to match volumes from Italy.


In addition to Oak, the overall growth in hardwood import volumes was driven by lower-priced temperate hardwoods from Latvia which saw a 15% rise in volumes compared to Q1 2021,  materials which largely entered the pallet and packaging trade.


While Europe continues to dominate the market as the source for 75% of hardwood imports by volume, the North American share has fallen as Africa, Asia, and Central and South America increased their slice of the market.


Timber Development UK CEO, David Hopkins, said:


“Whereas imports of the softwoods which are essential to construction and timber frame manufacturers  have mostly returned to more pre-pandemic levels, hardwood has witnessed a significant boom in Q1 2022.


“While the increase in French and tropical imports is a relatively normal variance to be seen in the first quarter, a diverse set of trade links will prove crucial in the coming months amidst the disruption to the market likely to occur from Ukraine.


“While the joinery softwood market is likely to bear the brunt of the impact of the war in Ukraine, products such as Siberian Larch cladding and Birch plywood will also become difficult to source as the existing stock begins to be depleted.


“We are working with the market and our members to increase the resilience and adaptability of our supply chain and communicate to specifiers what alternative products will be available in the coming months. One great resource for this is our Timber Cladding Handbook.


“The global network and links between suppliers and specifiers which our members have built are set to strengthen through this merger and will prove essential for navigating this increasingly complex market.”


Members can read the full report on the TTF websitehttps://ttf.co.uk/download/ttf-monthly-stats-june-2022-2/


The full range of Timber Development UK statistics can be accessed via our website here.