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First quarter timber imports highest since 2007

More timber was imported to the UK in the first quarter of 2021 than at any time since before the financial crash, according to the latest Timber Trade Federation statistics.

Q1 2021 solid timber and panel product import volumes were 23% higher than Q1 2020, nearing almost 3 million cu m (2,938,000 cu m) as compared to last year’s 2,396,000 cu m

This makes Q1 2021 have the highest volume of imports since Q1 2007 (3,021,000 cu m), and the third consecutive quarter of record volumes, following Q3 (2,698,000 cu m) and Q4 (3,123,000 cu m) 2020.

Based on the strength of demand seen in 2021 it is estimated that the total volume of imports in Q2 2021 could reach 3,300,000 cu m and rival the second quarter of 2007 (3,371,000 cu m.

With demand so strong that even record imports cannot satisfy it, the TTF believes supply is likely to continue to tighten – particularly with Swedish mill stocks the lowest for 20 years.

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has previously warned that these low stock levels will mean the balance between supply and demand is likely to further tighten this summer.

David Hopkins, CEO of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), said: “These statistics underline that the market is continuing to import unprecedented levels of volume amidst record demand for timber and panel products. Since the release of our Market Statement in May, recent reports from our members and the CPA indicate that demand remains strong which will keep supply tight throughout 2021.

 “All users of timber must work closely with suppliers on their purchasing strategies, and to take a forward-looking perspective as timber is likely to remain on allocation.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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