Despite the current pandemic, imports of wood products recovered significantly by the end of March 2020, though at still-diminished levels, after a dismal February. Imports of tropical hardwood, plywood, veneer, flooring and mouldings all saw gains in this period.
Source: ITTO Reports
Imports from China, however, fell steeply across the board even after several months of decline while imports from a number of countries rose sharply to fill the need, suggesting that US importers are modifying their supply chains.
The import data is encouraging considering that March was the first month where businesses across the US were under severe restrictions. It is too soon to say what the full economic effect of the pandemic may be on the US as its infection and mortality rates are the highest in the world.
Much of the US wood products industry remains operating as the US Department of Homeland Security has identified the industry as an essential critical infrastructure workforce in the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
US imports of hardwood plywood grew by 29% in March. The volume was nearly 8% higher than that in March 2019 and was up 6% over 2019 year to date. Imports from China fell by 67% in March and year to date are only half of last year’s first quarter total. Imports from Indonesia and Ecuador were up sharply in March.