The United Kingdom is now in a kind of economic boom in the middle of a struggling Europe. Growth jumped 0.8% in the first quarter of this year, and forecasts are even more positive estimating a +3% rise in GDP for the whole 2014. Also, the construction sector returned to the pre-crisis level of 2008 and is expected to further grow this year.
Lumber consumption (8.4 million per year, 90% softwood) has increased by 4.3% in 2013, and will increase even stronger in 2014. Imports also follow this rise. The UK consumes 57% foreign wood, nearly 5 million m³ per year- the first lumber importing country in the European Union.
All this favourable economic context is helping the lumber industry which has registered high levels of imports at the start of this year. Therefore, according to the latest Eurostat statistics, the UK has purchased, in value, a quarter more softwood lumber from the European Union countries in the first four months of 2014, if compared to the same period of 2013. UK bought €372 million worth of softwood lumber from the EU, an increase of €70 million over January-April 2013.
Purchases from almost all major UK European trade partners rose in this period. Traditionally, Sweden is UK's main source of lumber and in January-April Swedish exports stepped-up by 27%. Latvia overpassed Finland and became the second exporter with a year-on-year rise of almost 50%. Surprisingly, purchases from neighbour country, Ireland, slightly dipped by -4%, while imports from Germany jumped 12%.