Some European importers say the deterioration in market conditions started from the beginning of the year. Others said that their first three to four months sales were satisfactory, but subsequently turned down. All agreed that by the end of July business was flat. One described it as ‘dead as a dodo’.
“The orders are still coming in, but it’s much more piecemeal,” said one company. “Customers aren’t committing to large volumes, it’s hand to mouth and just in time. Everyone is very wary of building stocks in the current climate.”
Contributing to market problems, the larger European stockholding importers are reported to have bought heavily towards the close of 2018, due to over confidence about market growth and in order to buy within the plywood quota. So they held very large inventories as demand started to contract. They are said now to be attempting to work through the excess and in the meantime have curtailed purchasing further.