The EU’s trade in tropical wood products was more buoyant in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2018.
Total imports of all wood products (classified in HS Chapter 44) from tropical countries in the first half of 2019 were 1.24 million metric tonnes (MT), 16% more than the same period in 2018. Import value increased 15% to €1.26 billion.
This growth is surprising given that the wider economic situation in the EU has continued to deteriorate this year. In the European Central Bank (ECB)’s latest projections, published in September 2019, the euro-area is forecast to grow only 1.1% in 2019 and 1.2% in 2020. This compares to the ECB’s December 2018 forecast of 1.7% growth in both 2019 and 2020.
According to ECB, “recent data and forward-looking indicators – such as new export orders in [eurozone] manufacturing – do not show convincing signs of a rebound in growth in the near future and the balance of risks to the growth outlook remains tilted to the downside….The longer the weakness in manufacturing persists, the greater the risks that other sectors of the economy will be affected by the slowdown”.