According to the latest Timber Trade Federation statistics, in the first four months of the year solid wood imports were 23% higher than for the same period in 2013, while panel product imports were up by nearly 17%. The overall increase for all products combined was around 21%.

In the four months, softwood imports rose nearly 23% on the year. Sweden’s market share remained static at 46% but Latvia’s share increased from 13% to 15%, while below average growth from Finland and barely any growth from Ireland resulted in their each losing one percentage point.

Hardwood imports increased by 22% over the period.

Plywood imports rose by 7.7%, although hardwood plywood shipments slipped by 0.6% and in April they were down by more than a third on the year, largely because of a significant drop in imports from China.

In the first four months, softwood plywood imports were up by more than 24%, with Brazil and China recording growth rates of more than 30%. Canada accounted for 3% of the UK’s imports.

From January to April chipboard imports rose by 31% as all the leading countries exported more. Belgium recorded growth of more than 70%.

In the four-month period, OSB imports increased by nearly 26% and MDF by nearly 20%.