In the first half of 2019, the European plywood sector was experiencing a tightening market and competitive conditions. In the second half, according to leading importers, not a lot has changed.
There have been indications that prices from some sources are starting to come off the floor. Overall, however, they remain depressed compared to 2018 and ‘rock bottom offers’ from Russia are felt by some to threaten any significant wider increase and to be actually squeezing product from other countries out of the European market.
The US-China trade dispute continues to destabilise the sector and UK companies say that continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, politics and the economy generally has seriously undermined market confidence.
A slowdown in European manufacturing, notably in Germany, is also impacting demand, and although overall construction consumption is reported to have held up reasonably well to date, it is forecast to slow and stagnate over the next two years.
In recent weeks, Brazilian elliotti and Malaysian plywood prices have both seen rises of US$10-15/cu.m. However, these prices are still reported down 33-40% and 28% respectively on 18 months ago. Chinese prices are still down around 15% and Russian film-faced plywood and raw plywood prices are down 30% and 25% respectively during the same period.