Though the US continued its dominance as the most lucrative destination for Ghana’s kiln-dried lumber and rotary veneer, the recent economic crisis has slumped demand for Ghana’s timber products, particularly mahogany and odum. This has forced some of Ghana’s lumber and veneer prices down. Market analysts were hopeful, however, the economic downturn would be short-lived and avoid negative impact on business and industrial employment.
Prices of Malaysian timber products remained low even as timber traders resisted further price reductions. Although timber traders continued to have idle inventories, many were holding out for the US economic stimulus plan and mortgage bailout plan to take effect and move the industry forward. However, some timber traders believed it would take at least six months or more to see any real business activities returning to the industry.
From January to October 2008, about 7,000 furniture enterprises were closed, reported China Wood International. Nevertheless, some enterprises made plans to expand, with IKEA planning to open 10 new stores in 2010 and Markorhome increasing its stores from 29 to 40 before 2010. The China Association of Building and Decoration Industry also reported the decorative market was worth RMB680 billion in 2008, and the distribution value of China’s furniture industry fell nearly 30% in 2008 from 2007 levels.