EU plywood imports rise to near record level

18 April 2017

EU imports of plywood increased by 8% to 4.13 million m3 in 2016, the second highest level ever recorded, according to the International Tropical Timber Organisation’s latest market report.

Much of the gain was due to a sharp increase in imports of birch plywood from Russia, which increased 25% to 1.08 million m3, encouraged by extreme weakness of the Russian rouble.

EU imports of tropical hardwood plywood also increased, by 11% to 320,000m3, while imports of products faced with tropical hardwood manufactured in China increased 25% to 120,000m3.

However, Russian birch plywood achieved by far the largest increase in share of the total, rising 26% in 2016. This was largely at the expense of Chinese plywood faced with non-tropical hardwoods, whose share fell 4% to 1.01 million m3.

EU imports of softwood plywood increased by 2% to 1.33 million m3 in 2016, with rising imports from Brazil, Chile and Russia. These gains offset a 36% fall in imports of softwood plywood from China, to 70,000m3.

ITTO said the changing composition may be related to enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation and CE marking requirements.