Source: Forest Industries Intelligence analysis of Eurostat
Russian hardwood plywood deliveries to the EU totalled 323,198 cu.m in the first five months of this year, down 5.3% compared to 341,328 cu.m in the same period of 2014. Deliveries to Germany, the largest single market, declined 18% to 70,320 cu.m.
German imports fell particularly sharply in the first quarter due to stock build up at the end of 2014 when several companies ordered extra volumes to fulfil their purchasing quotas and receive related bonuses. However German consumption has remained stable and imports recovered a little in the second quarter.
In the first five months of 2015, Italy (+14.7%), Latvia (+22.7%), and Poland (+10.7%) all imported more plywood than in the same period in 2014. In contrast, deliveries to the UK (-4.9%), Estonia (-5.4%), Finland (5.5%) and the Netherlands (-9.8%) were all lower than one year ago.
European importers report that availability of Russian birch plywood has been good this year. There were widespread reports of overstocking at Russian mills earlier in the year. However the supply situation is gradually becoming better balanced as some smaller producers have reduced production and demand has picked up in export markets.
This has been boosted by price concessions of up to 20% granted by Russian producers and the sharp loss in value of the rouble against the euro. Prices are now beginning firm again, according to importers.