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The American Hardwood Veneer and Plywood Market: Vietnam Replaces China as Top Foreign Supplier

plywood

The American Hardwood Veneer and Plywood Market: Vietnam Replaces China as Top Foreign Supplier

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. Hardwood veneer and plywood Market. Analysis And Forecast to 2025’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The American Hardwood Veneer and Plywood Market is to Languish on the Backdrop of the Pandemic

The hardwood veneer and plywood market in the U.S. stood at $4.9B in 2019 (IndexBox estimates), which was  -9.1% less than the year before. This figure reflects the total revenue of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, taxes, and tariffs, which will be included in the final consumer price). Over the last five years, it increased gradually, driven by rising construction.

In physical terms, the market volume reached approx. 6.9M cubic meters, declining by -3.3%. The decrease in market volume was caused, on the one hand, by the slowdown in the U.S. economy in 2019, and, on the other hand, by a sharp drop in the volume of imports from China due to the introduction of anti-dumping duties, which could not be immediately replenished by domestic producers and suppliers from other countries.

Plywood is one of the basic materials widely used in construction, and, to a lesser extent, in industry. Therefore, the key factor determining the development of the plywood market is the dynamics of construction, which, in a broader context, reflects the overall GDP growth.

According to the World Bank outlook from January 2020, the U.S. economy was expected to slow down to +1.7% per year in the medium term, hampered by increasing global uncertainty, trade war, and slower global growth. The number of building permits increased steadily, with single-family premises posting the most prominent growth. Those factors were driving the market over the period under review and were assumed to remain in the medium term.

In early 2020, however, the global economy entered a period of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, due to which most countries in the world put on halt production and transport activity. The result will be a drop in GDP relative to previous years and an unprecedented decline in oil prices.

The U.S. is struggling with a drastic short-term recession, with the expected contraction of GDP of approx. -6.1% in 2020, as the hit of the pandemic was harder than expected, and unemployment soared due to the shutdown and social isolation. The construction sector has proven extremely vulnerable to the pandemic as due to quarantine measures, construction projects were paused, and the drop in incomes of the population makes mortgage loans less affordable.

In the medium term, should the pandemic outbreak end in the second half of 2020, the economy is to start recovering in 2021 and then return to the market trend of the gradual growth, driven by the fundamentals existed before 2020 and boosted by support measures imposed by the government.

Taking into account the above, it is expected that in 2020, the consumption of plywood will drop by approx. 6%. In the medium term, as the economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic, the market is expected to grow gradually, with an anticipated CAGR of +0.2% for the period from 2019 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 7B cubic meters by the end of 2030.

The U.S. Hardwood Veneer and Plywood Market Remains Dependent on Imports

In 2019, the production of hardwood veneer and plywood decreased by -2.3% to 4.5M cubic meters, falling for the second year in a row after five years of growth. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +4.7% over the period from 2013 to 2019; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years.

Over the period under review, the share of imports in terms of total hardwood veneer and plywood consumption in the U.S. decreased from 52% in 2007 to 44% in 2019 (based on physical terms). It means that the U.S. hardwood veneer and plywood market is still largely supplied by foreign manufacturers. The market position of domestic producers may improve further as the anti-dumping tariffs were imposed against plywood from China. This, however, is disputed by American furniture producers who relied on the imports of cheap raw materials. Anyway, some other countries like Viet Nam and Cambodia, and, to a lesser extent, Brazil, Spain, Canada, and Russia, benefit from the counter-China trade measures, increasing their supplies to the U.S. market to fill the market gap.

Viet Nam Emerged as the Largest Hardwood Veneer and Plywood Supplier to the U.S. After the Chinese Products Were Kicked Out

The volume of hardwood veneer and plywood imports in the U.S. totaled 2.8M cubic meters (IndexBox estimates) in 2019, decreasing significantly for the second consecutive year. As mentioned above, the decrease is caused by a deep slump in supplies from China which has not yet been compensated by other supplying countries. In value terms, it amounted to $1.7B in 2019.

In terms of supplying countries, Viet Nam (555K cubic meters), Indonesia (441K cubic meters), Russia (432K cubic meters), and Canada (411K cubic meters) were the main suppliers of hardwood veneer and plywood imports to the U.S., together accounting for 62% of total imports. Imports from Viet Nam soared over 2018-2019, filling a gap that appeared on the market after the Chinese plywood been pushed off. Imports from Brazil, Cambodia, and Spain also increased due to the same reason.

In value terms, the largest hardwood veneer and plywood suppliers to the U.S. were Viet Nam ($362M), China ($340M), and Canada ($302M), with a combined 45% share of total imports. These countries were followed by Indonesia, Russia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Spain, Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, and Uruguay, which together accounted for a further 43%.

The average hardwood veneer and plywood import price stood at $742 per cubic meter in 2019, with a decrease of -11.6% against the previous year. Over the period from 2013 to 2019, it increased at an average annual rate of +2.0%. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2018 when the average import price increased by 19% year-to-year. As a result, import price reached the peak level of $839 per cubic meter and then declined in the following year.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was Cambodia ($1,310 per cubic meter), while the price for Uruguay ($285 per cubic meter) was amongst the lowest.

From 2013 to 2019, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by China, while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced more modest paces of growth.

Companies Mentioned in the Report

Columbia Forest Products, Smith Family Companies, Veneer Technologies, States Industries, Decorative Panels International, Mt. Baker Products, Rutland Plywood Corp., The Freeman Corporation, Marion Plywood Corporation, David R. Webb Company, Nmsa, International Timber and Veneer, Miller Veneers, Amos-Hill Associates, Swaner Hardwood Co., Manthei, Murphy Company, Ferche Millwork, Standard Plywoods Incorporated, Swanson Group Mfg., Coldwater Veneer, Birchwood Lumber & Veneer Co., Plycraft Industries, Bessemer Plywood Corp., Davis Wood Products, Timber Products Michigan Limited Partnership, Danzer Services, Northern Michigan Veneers, Columbia Plywood Corporation, Plum Creek Northwest Plywood, Coastal Plywood Company, Ivc USA Inc.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

timber

WOODEN SKYSCRAPERS PUSH TRADE IN CROSS-LAMINATED TIMBER TO NEW HEIGHTS

Closer to Nature

American biologist Edward Wilson is known for popularizing the term “biophilia” to explain the inherent pleasure people derive from being in nature. By extension, “biophilic design” incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment. A relatively new building material, cross-laminated timber (CLT), is quickly becoming the darling of the biophilic design movement.

CLT is made from layers of dried lumber boards stacked in alternating direction at 90-degree angles, which are then glued and pressed to form solid panels. The resulting panels have exceptional strength, stability and fire resistance. According to a recent USDA study, a seven-inch floor made of CLT is fire-resistant for two hours. CLT structures have proven more resilient to earthquakes than many other types of building materials, fostering great interest among builders in Japan where biophilic design has been part of the culture for centuries. CLT featured prominently in the rebuild of Christchurch, New Zealand, which was severely damaged by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Global Cross-Laminated Timber “Plyscrapers” Reach New Heights

The cross-laminated timber wood panel system was developed in Europe in the 1990s as an alternative to stone and masonry concrete — and to boost employment in the forests products industry. Europe still leads supply and demand in the CLT market, but use of CLT is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, Canada and across the world.

CLT is the basis of the “tall wood” movement, as the material’s high strength, dimensional stability and rigidity allow it to be used in mid- and high-rise construction of apartment and office buildings and even power line towers. Growing investment in large-scale wood construction is evident with the completion of several prominent structures over the last several years.

They include luxury apartment buildings in Melbourne, Australia and Bergen, Norway as well as the Brock Commons on the campus of the University of British Columbia. Last year, construction began on a 24-story hotel and office tower composed of 76 percent wood in Vienna, Austria. In 2018, Sumitomo Forestry announced its plan to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper – at 70 stories tall, the building will be made 90 percent of wood, capable of sequestering 100,000 tons of CO2. Japan also used CLT extensively in its 2020 Olympic National Stadium to achieve a natural aesthetic.

Global Plyscrapers

Building Global Customers

The global CLT market was valued at $773 million in 2019 and was expected to grow to $1.6 billion by 2025. Production of CLT worldwide is estimated based on surveys and reported by the publication Timber-Online at 1.44 million cubic meters in 2019, although data is not available for all production sites. An estimated 65 percent is produced in Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. With additional production coming online, global annual output is expected to grow to between 2 and 2.5 million cubic meters this year.

How much of this production is traded internationally? It’s not entirely clear. There is no international agreement yet on how to classify CLT on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. The product currently falls within a broader category with glulam (another laminated timber product), obscuring our understanding of specific trade flows. (With support from USDA’s McIntire-Stennis program, The Center for International Trade in Forest Products at the University of Washington is building a database to better understand international trade in wood products while governments sort this out.)

Japan’s Ministry of Finance recorded 918,000 cubic meters of laminated lumber (glulam and CLT) were imported in 2018, mainly from Europe. U.S. imports of CLT in 2018 were much smaller – less than 20,000 cubic meters, also primarily from Europe. Whether this number will grow remains to be seen – it could be that greater use of CLT drives more trade in architectural design, timber engineering and construction services.

Global ICT market

Image: courtesy of Acton Ostry Architects

Supporting the Structure of Rural Economies

CLT was pioneered and promoted in Europe in part to bolster rural employment in the timber industry. Though it is also traded, being close to construction is a big advantage in the timber industry. European companies, which dominate their own market and supply American developers, are starting to build mills in the United States to meet growing demand. Austrian firm KLH partnered with International Beams in Dothan, Alabama, to open the first CLT plant east of the Rocky Mountains utilizing the Southern Yellow Pine native to the region.

To support more CLT production in rural economies, the United States is in the process of updating U.S. building codes to expand the use of CLT, as the International Building Code has already done. The 2018 Farm Bill contains provisions from the Timber Innovation Act intended to advance domestic research and development of further applications for structural wood in the building sector.

The United States isn’t alone in its efforts to build CLT capacity. Japan’s Forest Agency instituted a road map in 2014 for greater utilization of CLT as a follow up to Japan’s Promotion for the Use of Wood in Public Buildings Act. The agency provides subsidies to drive the establishment of CLT facilities with a target of increasing the country’s CLT production capacity to supply both the domestic and international markets. Through the effort, the government also seeks to support employment of women in rural areas, including through encouraging female lumberjacks.

A Breath of Fresh Air

In responding to industry feedback surveys, customers say wood construction, exposed structural wood and biophilic design have a positive impact on their shopping experience because such structures are ecological, healthful and warm. Some studies even suggest wood is a multi-sensory experience for occupants, evoking a sense of calm that can lower blood pressure.

As for environmental benefits, CLT emits less carbon dioxide during the manufacturing phase and finished buildings made with CLT even help sequester existing carbon for a longer period. Murray Grove in London was the first tall urban housing project to be constructed entirely from CLT. Due to its wooden construction, it was calculated to be carbon negative from the start and will take twenty-one years before the building will even reach carbon neutrality, far less than if the building had used concrete. Even tearing down a CLT building at the end of its life is more environmentally friendly than taking down one made of traditional materials.

oregon-conservation-center-lever-architecture-usa_dezeen_2364_hero2
Photo credit: Lever Architecture, cross-laminated timber community center added to the The Nature Conservancy in Oregon.

Trade in Sustainability

A thriving wood industry must embrace sustainability by replanting and harvesting efficiently. The CLT process allows smaller diameter softwood trees to be utilized, more so than in most commercial timber. It also makes use of millions of acres of pine that have been killed by the pine beetle epidemic. Pine beetles have penetrated forests in all nineteen western states, some eastern states and Canada, effectively decimating some 88 million acres of timber. Processing the downed trees mitigates some of the carbon emitted by the decaying wood, which remains strong enough to be useful in CLT processing for up to two years.

Cross-laminated timber provides many possible benefits, including reduced costs, rural employment, strength, fire-resistance, beauty and a sense of being closer to nature. We can also credit trade in CLT with stimulating a global movement that could help all of us live and work more harmoniously on this planet.

The author began her U.S. Government career in the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration’s Forest Products division and is still convinced this industry has the best site visits and field trips.

Feature image: The Kajstaden Tall Timber Building by CF Møller Architects in the Swedish city of Västerås.

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Sarah Smiley is a strategic communications and policy expert with over 20 years in international trade and government affairs, working in the U.S. Government, private sector and international organizations.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

steel

Global Iron Or Steel Pipe And Tube Market Increased to $124.6B

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Tubes, Pipes And Hollow Profiles (Of Iron Or Steel) – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the market for tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) worldwide amounted to $124.6B in 2018, rising by 3.9% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).

Consumption By Country

China (23M tonnes) constituted the country with the largest volume of consumption of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel), comprising approx. 21% of total volume. Moreover, consumption of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest consumer, India (10M tonnes), twofold. Russia (9M tonnes) ranked third in terms of total consumption with a 8.4% share.

In China, consumption of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) remained relatively stable over the period from 2007-2018.

Production 2007-2018

In 2018, the amount of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) produced worldwide amounted to 109M tonnes, rising by 2.2% against the previous year. In general, production of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. Over the period under review, global production of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) reached its maximum volume in 2018 and is likely to see steady growth in the near future.

Production By Country

China (30M tonnes) remains the largest iron or steel pipe and tube producing country worldwide, comprising approx. 28% of total volume. Moreover, production of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest producer, India (11M tonnes), threefold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by Russia (11M tonnes), with a 9.9% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of volume in China was relatively modest. The remaining producing countries recorded the following average annual rates of production growth: India (+10.7% per year) and Russia (+2.0% per year).

Exports 2007-2018

Global exports totaled 45M tonnes in 2018, growing by 7.3% against the previous year. Over the period under review, exports of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel), however, continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2010 when exports increased by 20% y-o-y. The global exports peaked at 49M tonnes in 2008; however, from 2009 to 2018, exports failed to regain their momentum. In value terms, exports of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) amounted to $58.4B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

In 2018, China (8.3M tonnes), distantly followed by Italy (3,421K tonnes), South Korea (3,392K tonnes), Germany (3,023K tonnes), Russia (2,472K tonnes) and Japan (2,157K tonnes) were the major exporters of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel), together committing 51% of total exports. The following exporters – Turkey (1,995K tonnes), India (1,884K tonnes), Mexico (1,841K tonnes), Canada (1,233K tonnes), the U.S. (1,179K tonnes) and Austria (772K tonnes) – together made up 20% of total exports.

China experienced a relatively flat trend pattern of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) exports. At the same time, South Korea (+8.2%), Mexico (+7.9%), Russia (+6.7%), Turkey (+2.3%) and India (+2.3%) displayed positive paces of growth. Italy and Austria experienced a relatively flat trend pattern. By contrast, Canada (-1.4%), Germany (-2.0%), the U.S. (-2.6%) and Japan (-3.8%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the average export price for tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) amounted to $1,300 per tonne, rising by 2.8% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the export price for tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel), however, continues to indicate a slight downturn.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major exporting countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was the U.S. ($2,287 per tonne), while Turkey ($836 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Imports 2007-2018

Global imports stood at 43M tonnes in 2018, picking up by 7.4% against the previous year. Over the period under review, imports of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel), however, continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. In value terms, imports of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) amounted to $62.8B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, the U.S. (6.7M tonnes), distantly followed by Germany (2,210K tonnes) were the main importers of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel), together comprising 21% of total imports. Australia (1,928K tonnes), Canada (1,581K tonnes), France (1,387K tonnes), Saudi Arabia (1,169K tonnes), Mexico (1,073K tonnes), Poland (970K tonnes), Italy (933K tonnes), the UK (926K tonnes), the United Arab Emirates (899K tonnes) and the Netherlands (876K tonnes) held a little share of total imports.

In value terms, the U.S. ($10B) constitutes the largest market for imported tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) worldwide, comprising 16% of global imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Germany ($3.4B), with a 5.4% share of global imports. It was followed by Australia, with a 4.1% share.

Import Prices by Country

The average import price for tubes, pipes and hollow profiles (of iron or steel) stood at $1,460 per tonne in 2018, rising by 8.1% against the previous year.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was the UK ($1,988 per tonne), while the United Arab Emirates ($1,205 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

strandboard

U.S. Oriented Strandboard (OSB) Market – Imports from Canada Account for 25% of Domestic Consumption

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. – Oriented Strand Board (Osb) – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the oriented strandboard (OSB) market in the U.S. amounted to $9.8B in 2018, going down -4.5% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).

Production in the U.S.

In 2018, the amount of OSB produced in the U.S. stood at 13M cubic meters, rising by 3.5% against the previous year. Overall, oriented strandboard production, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2013 with an increase of 13% y-o-y. OSB production peaked at 15M cubic meters in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, production remained at a lower figure.

Exports from the U.S.

In 2018, the OSB exports from the U.S. amounted to 75K cubic meters, picking up by 4.6% against the previous year. In general, oriented strandboard exports, however, continue to indicate an abrupt decrease.

In value terms, exports stood at $58M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Over the period under review, OSB exports, however, continue to indicate a decline. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2010 with an increase of 67% y-o-y.

Exports by Country

Canada (81K cubic meters), Mexico (58K cubic meters) and South Korea (14K cubic meters) were the main destinations of oriented strandboard exports from the U.S.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main countries of destination, was attained by Mexico, while exports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Canada ($40M) remains the key foreign market for oriented strandboard (osb) exports from the U.S., comprising 69% of total oriented strandboard (osb) exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Mexico ($15M), with a 25% share of total exports. It was followed by South Korea, with a 6.7% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of value to Canada amounted to +4.2%. Exports to the other major destinations recorded the following average annual rates of exports growth: Mexico (+8.8% per year) and South Korea (-1.8% per year).

Export Prices by Country

The average OSB export price stood at $775 per cubic meter in 2018, going down by -6.8% against the previous year.

There were significant differences in the average prices for the major foreign markets. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Canada ($491 per cubic meter), while the average price for exports to Chile ($194 per cubic meter) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to Canada, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports into the U.S.

In 2018, approx. 5.5M cubic meters of OSB were imported into the U.S.; dropping by -9.9% against the previous year. Overall, oriented strandboard  imports continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2012 with an increase of 71% y-o-y. Imports peaked at 6.1M cubic meters in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

In value terms, OSB imports amounted to $1.7B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Over the period under review, oriented strandboard (osb) imports continue to indicate a strong increase. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2012 with an increase of 50% year-to-year. Imports peaked in 2018 and are likely to see steady growth in the immediate term.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Canada (5.5M cubic meters) was the main supplier of oriented strandboard to the U.S., accounting for a approx. 100% share of total imports.

The average oriented strandboard import price amounted to $300 per cubic meter, increasing by 26% against the previous year. In general, the import price indicated a strong increase from 2007 to 2018: its price increased at an average annual rate of +4.4% over the last eleven-year period.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform