Business Trends Abroad

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Vietnam – There has been a decline in wood and wood product (W&WP) exports to almost all markets at the beginning of 2023. Exports to the U.S., their top market, were valued at US$367.3 million, down 60 percent compared to the beginning of 2022, followed by the Chinese market (US$132.9 million, down one percent) and Japan (US$129.1 million, down 13 percent).

According to the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Trade and Industry the U.S. housing sector is expected to remain weak in 2023, so the U.S. demand for wooden furniture will continue to slow.
The generally weak demand in international markets, notably Japan and South Korea, has led to reduced orders and downward price pressure. While the Chinese market has reopened, the domestic supply chain has not fully recovered which is hampering the recovery in sales.

Under the current conditions the Import and Export Department forecasts that Vietnam’s W&WP exports throughout 2023 will not be bright as consumers in the target markets will continue to tighten spending under the pressure of inflation. However, some markets in Europe, especially non-EU countries remain healthy for living room and dining room furniture, where Vietnam continues to be very competitive.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has directed overseas trade promotion organizations to regularly support Vietnamese enterprises, help wood industry associations gather market information and help exporters take advantage of existing Free Trade Agreements to improve access.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is also urging that relevant agencies provide early warnings of market risks associated with trade protection measures in various countries.

Indonesia – The Indonesian government and the business sector will work together to boost exports of wood products to the United States, which is a market that they consider to have great prospects.

The Director General for America and Europe in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Umar Hadi, said that the existing challenges could be solved together so that the market share of Indonesian wood products would continue to increase in the United States.

Rosan P. Roeslani, the Indonesian Ambassador to the United States, has shown support for the idea of expanding exports to the United States, saying that the demand for Indonesian wood products in the U.S. will continue to grow and be supported by furniture products for housing and office needs.

According to the Director General of Sustainable Forest Management at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), the U.S. is the second largest export destination after China and is worth US$2.23 billion.

The General Chairperson of the Indonesian Forestry Community Communication Forum (FKMPI), Indroyono Soesilo, stated that Indonesia has the opportunity to increase exports to the U.S. as there is an advantage since Chinese made goods face high import duties.

Indonesia will also benefit from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facility. Soesilo suggested intensive promotion in the U.S. and the building of a permanent exhibition enter in the U.S.

Germany – The German furniture market has seen good growth opportunities in the North American market. The resounding interest in German furniture manufacturers in the kitchen and bathroom furniture trade fair (KBIS) in Las Vegas, NV, showed the promise in these growth opportunities. “The exhibitors recorded high visitor numbers and received a lot of positive feedback on their products,” stated Jan Kurth, managing director of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM/VHK).

In the fall of 2022 the VDM export working group had the market potential in North America examined in a comprehensive study by the management consultants Conneum and Modenus Media.

The online retail sales channel was examined particularly closely. The study offers an overview of the structures of the North American furniture market, including the sales channels and this has given concrete instructions for entering the market. Among other things, the authors come to the conclusion that German furniture manufacturers have many opportunities, especially in the premium segment.

Poland – Poland’s wood industry hasn’t been able to breathe a sigh of relief since the first COVID lockdown. While they had a small glimmer of hope in February 2022, various challenges of since continued to beat down companies for years. With high material costs, difficulties in suppling resources and rising energy prices, demand has continuously decreased since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Wooden garden products recorded 90 percent fewer orders, furniture and construction carpenters down 50 percent in orders. Pallets are not being ordered in normal amounts and often times ordered units are not being picked up. Both the export and domestic consumption of wood are declining noticeably.

The Polish Chamber of Commerce for the Wood Industry has however recorded an increase in turnover for 2022 – from PLN 415.9 million in 2021 to PLN 474 million. Last year’s projected profit – PLN 130.8 million – is also significantly higher than that of 2021 (PLN 104.1 million). The current year will have more sobering results, since new log sales contracts with Scandinavia have concluded at current prices, while energy is billed according to the current price.

Brazil – At the beginning of 2023, Brazilian exports of wood-based products (except pulp and paper) declined 32 percent in value compared to the beginning of 2022, from US$393.9 million to US$267.3 million.

Pine sawn wood exports fell 10 percent in value, from US$49.7 million at the beginning of 2022 to US$44.6 million at the beginning of 2023. Regarding volume, exports have increased 6.5 percent over the same period from 180,600 cubic meters to 192,400 cubic meters.

Tropical sawn wood exports dropped 24 percent in volume from 38,900 cubic meters at the beginning of 2022 to 29,500 cubic meters at the beginning of 2023. In value terms, exports have decreased 0.6 percent from US$15.8 million to US$15.7 million, over the same period of time.

Pine plywood exports have witnessed a 35 percent decline in value at the beginning of 2023 compared to the beginning of 2022, from US$86.3 million to US$56.1 million. In volume, exports have decreased by 15 percent over the same period from 222,200 cubic meters to 189,250 cubic meters.

As for tropical plywood, exports decreased by 44 percent and in by 44 percent in value, from 3,200 cubic meters and US$6.3 million at the beginning of January 2022 to US$34.6 million at the beginning of 2023, a 34 percent fall in the total exports during the period.

United Kingdom – The UK imported US$731 million of tropical wooden furniture products in 2022, eight percent less the 2021. Wood furniture was 153,000 tons, nine percent less than in 2021.

The market’s turmoil over the past two years, during the COVID pandemic, caused the UK tropical wood furniture imports in 2022 to return to a level slightly below the annual average between 2015 and 2019 (US$771million).

A sign of deteriorating consumption, the UK wooden furniture import value in the last quarter of 2022 was 16 percent lower than the previous quarter and 15 percent down on the same period in 2021.

Throughout 2022, the UK’s import value of wooden furniture decreased by two percent from Vietnam to US$365 million, seven percent from Malaysia to US$130 million, three percent from India to US$80 million, 15 percent from Indonesia to US$69 million and 35 percent from Singapore to US$54 million. However, imports have increased by 19 percent from Thailand to US$22 million.

North America – According to a new report, the North American furniture market has been projected to grow from $249.4 billion in 2020 to $400.7 billion by 2030, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.9 percent from 2021 to 2030.

The Allied Market Research report, titled “North American furniture market by type and distribution channel: Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021-2030,” has projected that the residential segment of the furniture market will have the highest share during this forecasted period. The report states that the commercial segment is expected to grow comparatively faster than other segments, with a CAGR of 5.1 percent.

The report says that the furniture market is driven by various factors including the rise in disposable income, the growth of real estate and hospitality industries, as well as the demand for luxury and premium furniture from certain consumer sections. Also, with increased government investments in infrastructure development the furniture demand is projected to improve in the residential and commercial sectors in the near future.

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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