The recovery in 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%
  • Hardwood import volumes fell by 5.5%
  • Softwood plywood import volumes rose by 24%
  • Particleboard import volumes fell by 42%
  • OSB import volumes rose 135% 
  • MDF import volumes fell by 22.5% 

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

Exclusively to TTF members, the full monthly report highlights the stories behind these statistics, including a focus on panel product imports over the last five years.

David Hopkins, CEO of the Timber Trade Federation, said: “Our latest statistics reflect the determination of our members to match supply to demand, with a growth in overall wood product imports amidst a competitive international market which is keeping supply tight the world over, and a surge in construction in the UK.

“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 £160b saved during the last year.“