The volume of US imports of temperate and tropical sawnwood fell for the second year in a row in 2017. Annual imports of sawn hardwood fell 13% in 2017 from the previous year, but the value of imports was up.
While overall hardwood imports were down tropical sawnwood was not affected by the overall decline in 201,7 instead tropical imports increased 2% from 2016 to 239,738 cu.m.
The lower sawnwood import volumes may not be all bad news for wood product suppliers as this appears to be part of the continuing trend towards higher US imports of semi-finished and finished wood products, something tropical sanwood suppliers should take note of. Imports of most finished products such as flooring and furniture were significantly up in 2017.
The value of sawn hardwood imports was steady at US$252 million. The share of tropical sawnwood in the total value of US hardwood imports was 52% in 2017, unchanged from 2016.
The following species posted the largest volume gains in the US market in 2017: jatoba, balsa, sapelli and cedro. Imports of mahogany and keruing sawnwood declined from the previous year.
Canadian imports of tropical sawnwood mainly via US
Canadian imports of tropical sawnwood declined 3% in 2017 to US$19.8 million. The decline was largely in the “other” category.
Mahogany sawnwood imports more than doubled in 2017 to US$1.7 million. Imports of sapelli and the collective category of virola, imbuia and balsa also grew in 2017.
Imports through the US tripled in 2017, while direct imports from tropical countries declined for most species. Imports from the US accounted to one quarter of all Canadian tropical sawnwood imports in 2017.