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Import volumes recovered during the second half of 2023

Posted: Monday, February 12th, 2024

Timber import statistics for November 2023 show the market continued to improve in 2023, relative to 2022, with total import volumes for the full year likely to be only slightly behind 2022’s figures.

Import volumes in 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 117,000m3 – down from 123,000m3 last month.

This cumulative reduction in the volume of all imports in 2023 compared to November 2022 was 1.3%.

This is a significant improvement from earlier in the year, as during the spring import volumes were on track to be the lowest since 2013, but imports during the second half of the year allayed any fear of this being the case.

The loss in volume peaked at 384.000m3 in May 2023 and has reduced each month since to stand at 117,000m3, or just 1.3%, below 2022.

The 0.9% growth in November completed six months of consecutive growth of the combined volume of the main timber, panels and engineered wood products imported by the UK.

This better second-half performance has been realised largely through higher softwood, hardwood plywood, OSB and MDF imports.

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

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