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June 2, 2020

EU tropical timber trade weakened before COVID lockdown

EU tropical timber trade weakened before COVID lockdown

Having reached the highest level in more than a decade in October 2019, EU27+UK trade in tropical wood and wood furniture products slowed in the last two months of the year, a trend which accelerated in January and February this year. Contrary to expectations, with the large western European countries implementing COVID-19 lockdown measures during the month, EU imports of tropical wood products picked up again in March this year.

However, the rise in March is almost certain to be followed by a very large downturn in April and May with the shutdown of large sections of the European economy. During March, widespread reports emerged of timber importers putting existing orders on hold for 30 to 60 days and refraining from making new orders.

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