Timber imports into the UK fell for a fourth consecutive month in August 2022, according to the latest Timber Development UK (TDUK) statistics.
Overall import volumes in the first eight months of 2022 stood at 6.8 million cubic metres – the lowest January to August total since 2016.
Softwood import reductions are largely responsible, with volumes 25% lower than in 2021 and 16% lower than pre-pandemic volumes in August 2019.
TDUK said that while demand had slowed in certain sectors – particularly from repair, maintenance and improvement (RM&I) – lower overall import volumes could also be attributed to healthy stock levels in the UK.
Although overall volumes are down, some categories have seen import growth, with hardwood imports up by 20% compared to 2021.
TDUK head of technical and trade Nick Boulton said: “Healthy stocks and reduced demand mean the low import volumes seen in August 2022 come as no surprise to our industry. As I mentioned at our global market conference this month, the supply situation is steadier in 2022 with stocks at more stable levels compared to the chaos of 2021.
“On the demand side, the cost-of-living crisis has begun to bite our sector, with high energy prices harming consumer confidence and reducing demand for home improvements.
“Despite the doom and gloom, there is room for optimism in our sector. The COP27 summit has highlighted that the need for low-carbon construction materials is more important than ever. Timber offers an excellent solution to built environment emissions and we expect demand for wood to increase significantly in the long term.”
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