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.



16-31 August 2010

Top story

US tropical timber imports picked up in June

The US imported 20,657 cu.m of tropical sawnwood in June 2010, up from 14,652 cu.m in May. In June, imports of species from South East Asia and Africa picked up significantly due to the exhausted inventories and low availability from South America. In Brazil, some sawmills have reportedly shut down and the domestic market is consuming all the production leaving little for export. The depreciation of the Euro against the US dollar pushed up the imports of African tropical sawnwood much of which is priced in Euro.
Hardwood moulding imports showed a slight decline year-to-date June 2010 even compared with the low levels seen in 2009. However, US imports of hardwood plywood will likely exceed 2009 volumes, based on year-to-date imports of 1.1 million cu.m, which is 32% higher than in the same period last year.

Also in this issue

  • Central/West African log markets steady amid good demand
  • Sarawak steps up imports of raw materials for domestic processing industry
  • New policy to promote commercial forest plantations
  • Progress in implementation of forest conservation projects in Indonesia
  • Indian plywood market poised for strong growth
  • Brazil’s tropical sawnwood exports on the mend
  • Peru’s wood product exports surge in first half of 2010
  • Japan plywood imports rose in first half of 2010
  • Guangdong log imports hit record high
  • Changing fortunes of hardwood plywood suppliers in the EU

Data Snapshot

US housing starts and tropical sawnwood imports


According to the latest statistics, tropical sawnwood imports to the US showed an upward trend in the first half of 2010 even as housing starts weakened. Following the expiry of the federal tax credit programme for homebuyers, US housing starts fell sharply by 33% in May and continued to fall in June.
In order to sustain housing activity, the US Congress recently extended the federal tax credit programme until the end of September 2010. This has helped lift demand and July housing starts were up 1.7% from June, albeit still 7% below the level recorded in July 2009.
Housing starts, home resale, home repair and remodelling are demand drivers for the US joinery and furniture sectors and trends in tropical timber imports usually lag a few months behind the housing start changes.

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