Despite a slow start to the year, EU imports of tropical sawnwood were 539,000 MT in the first nine of 2018, 9% more than the same period in 2017. Import value also increased, by 10% to €545 million.
A significant amount of tropical sawnwood arrived into the EU from Cameroon in the third quarter of 2018, taking the total import from that country in the first nine months to 186,500 MT, almost exactly equivalent to the same period in 2017.
Meanwhile tropical sawnwood imports from nearly all other leading suppliers were stronger in the first 9 months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, including from Malaysia (+14% to 81,600 MT), Brazil (+20% to 73,700 MT), Gabon (+19% to 70,800 MT), Congo (+6% to 34,800 MT), Indonesia (+82% to 12,700 MT), Ghana (+8% to 11,000 MT), DRC (+7% to 9,700 MT) and Myanmar (+64% to 6,900 MT). These gains offset declining imports from Côte d'Ivoire (-9% to 21,000 MT) and Suriname (-20% to 4,100 MT).
The rise in imports from Indonesia, which only allows exports of S4S lumber, may be partly due to alterations in the HS codes used to record imports from Indonesia following introduction of FLEGT licensing. The rise in EU imports of sawnwood from Indonesia is offset by a similar decline in imports of mouldings from the country.
In the first nine months of 2018, tropical sawn hardwood imports increased 8% to 185,000 MT in Belgium, bolstered by strong growth in the third quarter of the year, and also increased in the Netherlands (+14% to 81,600 MT), France (+20% to 73,700 MT), Italy (+19% to 70,800 MT), and Germany (+6% to 22,100 MT). These gains offset a 20% decline to 38,300 MT in the UK, a 15% fall to 25,800 MT in Spain and a 9% decline to 16,300 MT in Portugal.