Japan: furniture import values relatively flat in August 2017

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In August, there was little in the Japanese furniture import data to suggest the downward trend has come to an end. Month on month import values were flat for wooden bedroom furniture, down for wooden office furniture and up moderately for wooden kitchen furniture. It should be remembered that August is holiday season in Japan so a more accurate picture of the underlying trend should become apparent when full third quarter data is available.

According to ITTO's (International Tropical Timber Organization) latest report, Japan’s imports of wooden office furniture are small compared to the value of wooden bedroom and kitchen furniture imports. August data shows that year on year imports fell 21% while month on month imports were down over 30%.

Three suppliers, China Poland and Portugal account for just over 75% of all wooden office furniture imports. China tops the list at 66% and the combined supply from EU member states makes up most of the balance. Shippers in SE Asia account for only a small part of Japan’s wooden office furniture imports.

It is underlined in the ITTO's above mentioned reports that the slight correction in the value of wooden kitchen furniture imports in July following 4 months of a steady upward trend was reversed in August as import values rose. Year on year imports of wooden kitchen furniture are up 5% with Vietnam (48%) the Philippines (34%) and China (10%) accounting for over 90% of all wooden kitchen furniture imports. Amongst the other suppliers to Japan only Germany stands out accounting for 3.5% of Japan’s August imports of this category of wooden furniture.

A staggering 90% of Japan’s imports of wooden bedroom furniture come from shippers in just three countries, China, Vietnam and Thailand. Between China and Vietnam over 85% of Japan’s bedroom furniture imports are accounted for. Year on year, imports of wooden bedroom furniture were up 9% in August and data for past 3-4 months seems to indicate that the downward trend in wooden bedroom furniture imports is bottoming out.

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