Business Trends Abroad

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Peru, The Services and Extractive Industries section of ADEX revealed that wood product exports for the initial five months of this year totaled $46.3 million, marking a significant 30 percent decline from the $66.4 million recorded during the same period in 2022. Among these exports, France and China stood out as the major markets, accounting for 21 percent and 19 percent of total wood product exports, respectively. However, both markets experienced notable drops in export figures – 15 percent for France and close to 40 percent for China.

Further analysis shows that semi-manufactured products brought in $20.1 million during the first five months of this year, reflecting a 30 percent decrease compared to the previous year. France remained a key market for these products, constituting 48 percent of the total, although this represented a 12 percent decline from the same period last year. Belgium and China followed suit with 13 percent and 12 percent shares, respectively. Within the sawn wood subsector, exports amounted to $8.1 million, indicating a 21 percent decrease year-on-year. The primary destinations for sawnwood were China, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

In the furniture and parts subsector, exports totaled $1.47 million, representing a 23 percent decrease from the same period in 2022. The United States continued to be the dominant market for furniture, accounting for almost 60 percent of subsector sales. This figure, however, marked a significant 33 percent decline from the previous year. Italy and Spain followed as major destination markets.

Ghana, In the initial four months of 2023, Ghana exported a total of 101,997 cubic meters of wood products, yielding revenue of Eur45,473 million. This indicates a slight decrease of about 1 percent in export volume compared to the same period in 2022. Surprisingly, despite the volume decrease, revenue saw a notable 5 percent increase from the previous year’s figures.

A significant portion of these exports, 55,049 cubic meters of air-dried sawnwood, made up nearly 54 percent of the total export volume. This volume marked a 15 percent rise when compared to the same period in 2022. Notably, certain products, including kiln-dried sawnwood, plywood (including overland exports), veneers and billets, experienced substantial decreases in volumes from January to April 2023.

Within this timeframe, nine ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) countries collectively imported 11,519 cubic meters, reflecting a 34 percent decrease compared to the 17,509 cubic meters recorded in the same period of 2022. Despite the relatively weak export performance, the average unit price (AUP) for wood products up to April 2023 stood at Eur384 per cubic meter, surpassing the AUP of Eur227 per cubic meter during the same period in 2022.

Countries contributing to this higher AUP in early 2023 over 2022 included Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal. It’s noteworthy that Ghana serves as the headquarters of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, aiming to enhance trade among African nations. Among Ghana’s export partners, France emerged as the primary importer of air-dried boules, accounting for 54 percent of the volume (245 cubic meters) and 53 percent (Eur186,309) of total early 2023 exports, with Germany, Greece and Italy making up the rest.

Germany, The German furniture industry faces a notable demand decrease, as indicated by Jan Kurth, Managing Director of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM/VHK). At the annual business press conference, Kurth shared that German furniture manufacturers have seen a drop in orders compared to the previous year, leading to a revised forecast for 2023, projecting a five to seven percent decline in sales for the industry. Kurth cited factors such as inflation and political debates affecting consumer confidence, prompting calls for measures to boost spending.

Statistics from the association revealed that German home furniture manufacturers experienced around a 12 percent decline in order value during the first seven months of this year compared to the same period in 2022. The upholstered furniture sector also saw losses of about 10 percent, while the kitchen furniture industry’s incoming orders were slightly over 2 percent lower than the previous year.

In response to these challenges, German furniture manufacturers have increasingly implemented short-time work measures, with 35 percent of surveyed companies currently utilizing this approach. Moreover, the supply chain situation has improved, though material prices remain elevated, while packaging and logistics costs continue to rise.

Despite official statistics indicating a slight drop in sales, the situation varies among segments. The kitchen furniture industry showed a reported 6.7 percent sales increase in the first half of 2023, though associations deem this overestimated due to specific factors. On the other hand, upholstered furniture manufacturers experienced a slight 0.1 percent decrease, and the broader segment of other furniture and furniture parts faced a more significant 9.6 percent drop.

Regarding foreign markets, European countries experienced sales declines due to inflation and reduced purchasing power. French sales decreased by 3.1 percent, while German furniture exports to the US dropped by 11.5 percent due in part to euro appreciation. However, exports to China and the Persian Gulf, particularly the United Arab Emirates, displayed positive growth rates for the German furniture industry.

Vietnam, According to the latest data available, Vietnam’s wood and wood product (W&WP) exports reached approximately US$1.1 billion, a slight increase from June 2023 but a 16 percent decline compared to July 2022.

Wood product (WP) exports contributed US$760 million, up slightly from June 2023 but down 10 percent compared to July 2022. Year-to-date, wood and wood product exports for the first seven months of 2023 totaled US$7.2 billion, a 27 percent drop compared to the same period in 2022.

WP exports accounted for US$4.9 billion of this total, marking a 30 percent year-on-year decrease. In June 2023, Pine imports reached 69,000 cubic meters, worth US$15.4 million, up slightly in volume and value compared to May 2023 but significantly lower than June 2022 levels. For the first half of 2023, Pine imports amounted to 279,400 cubic meters, valued at US$61.1 million, reflecting a substantial decline compared to the same period in 2022.

Vietnam’s exports of rattan, bamboo, and other non-wood forest products (NTFPs) in June 2023 reached US$68,135 million, showing a 10 percent increase compared to May 2023 and a 9.5 percent increase compared to June 2022. This marked the first year-on-year increase in NTFP exports in nine months. However, NTFP exports for the first six months of 2023 totaled US$358 million, down 25 percent compared to the same period in 2022.

Poland, Poland’s timber industry is in a critical state. Production in the past six months has seen a significant decline: floors, windows, and doors by 35 percent, and sawn timber (varying by type) by 29 to 43 percent, pallets by 25 percent and wood-based panels and furniture by 30 percent. This unprecedented situation has led even the largest factories to halt operations due to stagnant sales, as noted in an open letter from eight industrial organizations to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

These companies urge for influence over the state forests’ sales policy, which supplies crucial raw materials. They find the current prices excessively high, causing competitiveness issues. Many businesses have been compelled to shorten their workweek to four days or reduce production to a single shift.

The organizations propose specific measures, including a 20 percent decrease in raw material prices for the latter half of 2023, the establishment of wood sale rules for 2024 and beyond to bolster local wood processing, and the restoration of wood’s starting prices from state forests to 2021 levels. These prices surged by 40 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Indonesia, Indonesia’s forest and wood product exports amounted to US$6.7 billion in the first half of 2023, slightly below the US$7.03 billion earned in the same period of 2022. Despite this decline, the sectors are displaying signs of recovery from the pandemic’s impact, given the current international demand.

Wood product exports, like furniture and builders’ woodworking, also experienced considerable declines in H1 2023. Furniture exports totaled US$748.8 million, down 32 percent year on year, while builders’ woodworking exports amounted to US$428.9 million, marking a 19 percent year-on-year decrease. The downturn in export earnings can be attributed to sluggishness in the North American and EU markets.

While plywood remains a significant contributor to timber exports, its value has significantly dropped. Plywood export value in H1 2023 saw a 26 percent year-on-year decrease.

Also, according to data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry processed by the Indonesian Forestry Community Communication Forum, the majority of Indonesia’s wood product exports in H1 2023 consisted of paper, pulp and plywood. Paper products accounted for US$2.24 billion, pulp for US$1.86 billion, and wood panels for US$1.23 billion.

In terms of specific markets, exports of wood products to North America in H1 2023 were valued at US$925.9 million, down 36 percent year on year. Exports to the EU reached US$572.4 million, down 13 percent year on year. However, the Asian market, driven by demand from China, is displaying growth. Indonesian wood product exports to the Asian region reached US$4.6 billion in H1 2023, reflecting a six percent year-on-year increase.

Brazil, According to the most recent data available, Brazil experienced a significant drop in the export of wood-based products (excluding pulp and paper), with their total value declining by 36 percent compared to July 2022, taking them from US$431.4 million to US$278.0 million.

Exports of Pine sawnwood dropped by 56 percent in value, going from US$90.5 million in July 2022 to US$40.1 million in July 2023. This decline was accompanied by a 43 percent drop in volume. Tropical sawnwood exports mirrored this trend with a 42 percent drop in volume and a 34 percent decrease in value.

Pine plywood exports faced a 21 percent dip in value, falling from US$65.3 million to US$51.6 million. However, the volume of Pine plywood exports slightly increased by 2.4 percent during this period. Tropical plywood exports also saw a decline, both in volume (51 percent) and in value (54 percent), dropping from 5,900 cu.m and US$3.7 million in July 2022 to 2,900 cu.m and US$1.7 million in July 2023.

The export values of wooden furniture decreased by 18 percent, going from US$58.1 million in July 2022 to US$47.5 million in July 2023.

United Kingdom, The UK’s import value of tropical wood and wood furniture in the first half of this year amounted to US$486 million, marking a significant 43 percent decrease compared to the same period last year. In terms of quantity, the UK imported 203,600 tons of tropical wood and wood furniture during January to June, representing a 24 percent reduction compared to the previous year.

This decline was expected as trade in the early months of the previous year had reached its highest point in terms of dollar value since before the 2008 financial crisis. However, trade had already slowed noticeably since the summer of 2022.

Specifically, in the second quarter of 2023, the UK imported 105,700 tons of tropical wood and wood furniture with a total value of US$251 million. This reflects a 20 percent decrease in tonnage and a 41 percent decrease in value compared to the same period last year. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that import tonnage and value increased by eight percent and six percent, respectively, when compared to the first quarter of this year.

The increase in imports during the second quarter was primarily attributed to a rise in HS44 wood products.

Notably, imports of tropical wood furniture products remained sluggish during this period.

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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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