Although the pace of UK wood imports has slowed in the first three months of 2015, still a +0.8% growth was registered. Thus, the upward trend lasting since 2013 is continuing. Data of the UK Timber Trade Federation (TTF), shows that UK imports totalled 2.34 million cubic meters in the period between January and March 2015, compared to 2.32 million m3 in January-March last year.
Wood-based panels were the main driver for this growth. Wood imports- both softwood and hardwood declined in the first quarter by -0.4% and -7% respectively. Panel imports grew by 4% in the quarter, though showing some mixed trends. Hardwood plywood (+16.2%) and softwood plywood (+1.4%) imports both increased over the same period of 2014. OSB imports rose sharply by 47.8%. At the same time, particleboard (-14.7%) and MDF (-14.7%) imports were lower than in the first quarter of 2014.
The TTF assumes that with overall volumes in 2015 to date similar to those in 2014, the volume levels achieved by the strong growth in imports in 2014 (around 15% over 2013) are being maintained in 2015.