EU plywood imports are continuing to increase. The EU import leaders, Germany and the U.K., have seen a significant rise in plywood imports as a result of the expansion of the construction sector and furniture industry in 2015. The market share for extra-EU suppliers, meanwhile, amounts to over one third of total consumption, and it is continuing to increase.
Total EU Member States plywood imports increased steadily over the last three years, amounting to 3,214 million EUR in 2015.
According to an IndexBox research, Germany (22%) and the UK (20%), were the largest plywood importing Member States, together comprising 42% of total EU imports. These countries are also key countries within the global imports structure: Germany currently ranks third in terms of global plywood imports and the U.K. is in fourth place, an indication of these markets' prospects for global plywood exporters. However, while Germany has moderately stepped up its imports, the U.K. showed a record increase of 23% in 2015, against the previous year. 46% of this increase was provided by China, and 9% - by Brazil, both key suppliers of plywood to the U.K.
More than a half of the trade has been concentrated between the EU Member States over recent years. Meanwhile, extra-EU imports currently comprise approx. 47% of the total imports value, reaching 1,512 million EUR in 2015.
From 2010 to 2014, the share of extra-EU imports in the apparent consumption consistently amounted to approximately one third of total consumption. In 2015, it increased by 4 percentage points, reaching 34%. Rising supplies from China, Brazil and Malaysia, which invariably rank amongst the leaders in terms of extra-EU plywood imports are significantly increasing competition for EU manufacturers.
It can be argued that the EU represents a promising market for foreign suppliers. The expansion of the construction sector and furniture industry have heightened demand for plywood. In 2016, the total construction volume is set to increase by over 2%, with the highest rate of growth being forecast in Central and Eastern Europe. Factors ranging from improved tangible domestic disposable income, low interest rates, and investment plans from the European Commission, are expected to partially drive this modest overall investment growth in construction.
In general, EU plywood imports are projected to maintain the current growth trend, and the market as a whole is set to expand. At the same time, the fervent trade intensity is increasing market competition, resulting in additional pressure on local manufacturers, driving down prices for plywood-based products.