Steady demand and increasing operational costs ensured that timber prices and import volumes remained firm in April 2022, according to the latest TDUK statistics.
Softwood witnessed a strong start to Q2, with volumes reaching 608,000m3 in April 2022. Despite being 18% lower than the record import level seen in April 2021, this is one of the highest totals in the last five years.
Hardwood imports have been strong, with 2022 January to April totals 19% higher than the corresponding period in 2021.
Steady demand was also seen for plywood, particleboard and OSB sectors in April.
Despite the significant price pressures seen in 2021 largely abating, trade disruptions from rising interest rates, logistics and freight, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have kept the price situation tight in early Q2 2022.
“According to the CPA’s latest forecast, the private housing and RM&I sectors are likely to slow considerably in the coming months as the cost-of-living crisis begins to bite," says TDUK Head of Technical and Trade, Nick Boulton.
“This will disrupt the steady timber import patterns seen so far in 2022, with demand for softwood, in particular, likely to slow in Q3 and Q4.
“Despite slowing demand, continued price pressure is to be expected as high-interest rates, inflation and logistical costs continue as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict will also become apparent in the coming months as the market feels the impact of UK and EU sanctions. This will be seen in the hardwood plywood sector as imports of birch plywood from Russia begin to cease.
“We will be publishing a special report in the coming days highlighting the impact of the conflict on timber import patterns.”
The full range of Timber Development UK statistics can be accessed via the website here.