Market Information Service

Towards greater transparency in the tropical timber markets

The ITTO Tropical Timber Market (TTM) Report, an output of the ITTO Market Information Service (MIS), is published in English every two weeks with the aim of improving transparency in the international tropical timber market. The TTM provides market trends and trade news from around the world, as well as indicative prices for over 400 tropical timber and added-value products.



1-15 March 2018

Top story

Delays in VAT refund and shipping issues undermine Rougier finances

Rougier International, with timber businesses in Gabon, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Cameroon is facing extreme financial problems.
French media sources quote two main causes, Rougier is owed euro 8 million in VAT credit by Cameroon and another euro 7.6 million by the Republic of Congo and Gabon. This, along with serious problems with shipping out of Douala Port, has crippled the company.
The issue of VAT refunds is a long outstanding problem for all businesses in Gabon (and other countries in the region) but there are no signs of governments addressing this.

Also in this issue

  • Dramatic cut in power charges delights Ghanaian manufacturers
  • MTC Chairman outlines support for mechanisation and automation
  • Factors other than certification affecting Indonesian exports to the EU
  • Firmer domestic demand for furniture -  Brazilian manufacturers see an opportunity to raise prices
  • US tests Peru’s progress in timber tracking
  • China’s imports of wood products to be tested for toxins
  • Plywood prices rising - Risk of overheating in EU plywood market
  • Washington pier the largest Kebony installation in the US



Data snapshot

EU plywood imports down 7% in 2017

Source: ITTO IMM analysis of Eurostat COMEXT

Declining plywood imports were due entirely to lower arrivals of the ‘other hardwood’ plywood category. Part of this was likely due to a revision of customs product codes in 2017, which saw a large number of species previously labelled ‘other hardwoods’ now identified as ‘tropical’.
In 2017 exports of tropical plywood to the EU exceeded those from Indonesia and Malaysia. This is almost entirely due to the HS product code reclassification, as Chinese ‘mixed red hardwood’ plywood was most affected.

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