News from the market


ITTO has published its tropical timber market report for the second half of May 2023.


One of the main topics is the decline in Chinese imports of tropical sawnwood. Sawnwood imports into China totaled 6.522 million m3 in the first quarter of 2023, up 3% in volume but down 8% in value year-on-year. Of this total, softwood lumber imports rose by 9% to 4.42 million m3. Hardwood lumber imports fell by 8% to 2.102 million m3. Of the total hardwood lumber imports, tropical lumber imports amounted to 1.372 million m3 at a value of $409 million CIF (Cost Insurance & Freight), down 16% in volume and 14% in value on the previous year.

Other topics included

o Ghanaian sawnwood exports to Asia: in the first two months of 2023, Ghanaian air-dried sawnwood accounted for 54% (24,589 m3) of total timber exports (45,312 m3). They are the main export product. By contrast, exports of kiln-dried sawnwood fell by 13% (3.52 million euros in January-February 2023 vs. 3.72 million euros in January-February 2022). India and Vietnam ranked first and second in terms of Ghanaian exports of air-dried sawnwood. India absorbed 22,100 m3 worth 8.35 million euros and Vietnam 1,072 m3 worth 0.83 million euros, making it a major market for Ghana's air-dried sawnwood.

o The creation of a virtual showroom in Malaysia by the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC): named "Timber Reality", this digital gallery will be dedicated to wood and furniture products made in Malaysia, to attract buyers from all over the world. Timber Reality will connect consumers around the world, give visibility to Malaysian wood products and build confidence in Malaysian manufacturers.

o The creation of a Trade and Technology Council (TTC) between the EU and India: a press release from the European Commission announced the first meeting of this new council, which is expected to deepen the strategic partnership in trade and technology. The Council is a platform for coordination, designed to address key challenges in the fields of trade, technology and security. The EU is India's second-largest trading partner, with goods worth 120 billion euros in 2022, or 10.8% of India's total trade. India is the EU's 10th largest trading partner, accounting for 2% of total EU trade in goods. Trade in services between the EU and India reached 40 billion euros in 2021.

o The sharp drop in Vietnamese imports of wood raw materials from Southeast Asia: in the first quarter of 2023, these amounted to 95,080 m3, worth US$18.55 million, down 14% in volume and 28% in value compared with the same period in 2022.

o In Brazil, wood export start-up WoodFlow launched two new features on its sales platform: an application to inspect the quality of exported products, and a digital panel containing statistical data on volumes, prices, shipments and other information. These technologies aim to streamline Brazilian timber exports, and will bring greater quality and confidence to the process of exporting timber from Brazil.


Also discussed:

o A review of a slow start to the year for EU27 tropical timber imports. In the first quarter of this year, the EU27 imported 427,000 tonnes of tropical wood and wooden furniture products for a total value of US$896 million, down 12% and 22% respectively on the same period in 2022. Compared to the last quarter of 2022, Q1 2023 imports increased by 1.2% in monetary value and 3.1% in tonnage. After falling sharply in the second half of 2022 from the ten-year peak recorded in the first half of last year, imports stabilized in the first quarter of this year.

o The contraction in April of the US manufacturing sector, for the sixth consecutive month, after a 28-month period of growth, according to the country's procurement officials in the latest ISM report on manufacturing activity. Although April's index is below the 50% level that indicates growth, the 47.1% score represents an improvement on March's mark. "The U.S. manufacturing sector contracted again; however, the manufacturing PMI improved over the previous month, indicating a slowdown in contraction," said Tim Fiore, ISM president. "The April composite index reflects the fact that companies are continuing to manage production to better meet demand in the first half of 2023 and prepare for growth in late summer and early fall."

Download the ITTO 15 - May 31, 2023 report

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