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The recovery in UK import volume seen in the second half of 2020 continued in January 2021 with timber and panel imports 12% higher than in January 2020.

The volume of solid timber and panel products imported in January 2021 totalled 895,000m3, a 100,000m3 rise from January 2020’s total imports of 795,000m3.

When comparing January 2021 with January 2020 the statistics revealed that among the individual product categories:

  • Softwood import volumes rose by 22% (530,000m3).
  • Hardwood import volumes fell by 5.5% (38,000m3).
  • Softwood plywood import volumes rose by 24% (82,000m3).
  • Particleboard import volumes fell by 42% (41,000m3)
  • OSB import volumes rose 135% (58,000m3).
  • MDF import volumes fell by 22.5% (60,000m3)

The increase in import volumes comes amidst a resurgent housing market, with housing starts up by 26% in UK in Q4 2020 as compared to Q4 2019.

A growth in overall wood product imports could be noticed in UK amidst a competitive international market which is keeping supply tight the world over, and a surge in construction in the UK, David Hopkins, CEO of the Timber Trade Federation, said. “This growth is being supported by a buoyant housing market, a government eager to invest, and consumers choosing to spend money saved during the pandemic on home improvements, with some £160 billion saved during the last year.“

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