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Warner Stand at Lords Cricket Ground, UK: one of the projects where American hardwoods were specifie

Warner Stand at Lords Cricket Ground, UK: one of the projects where American hardwoods were specifie



Mena imports of US hardwood hit $52m

The dramatic increase is largely seen due to new construction project cycles, many of which are now entering the interior fit-out stage

October 2017

The total exports of US hardwood lumber to the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region reached $41.25 million for the first half of 2017, up by 29 per cent during the same period last year, a report said.

At the same time, direct exports of American hardwood veneers to the Mena region fell by 23 per cent in value to $10.40 million, according to the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading trade association for the American hardwood industry.

The statistics, which have been compiled from the latest data released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), reveal that the total volume of hardwood lumber shipped from the US to the region increased by 28 per cent to 51,394 cubic metres (cm) during the January to June period of this year. In all, the total exports of US hardwood lumber and veneer to the region reached $51.65 million for the first half of 2017.

Wiles: 2017 has, so far, proven to be very positive

Wiles: 2017 has, so far, proven to be very positive

Among the major destinations for US hardwood lumber in the region, significant rises in shipments were seen to the UAE and Pakistan. However, large increases were also seen in exports to Jordan and Lebanon. Of these, by far the most substantial increase was seen in shipments to the UAE, which rose by 179 per cent during the period to a volume of 14,488 cm and by 180 per cent to $12.13 million. This dramatic increase is partially due to restocking after very low levels of purchasing during the second half of 2016, but it is also due to new construction project cycles, many of which are now entering the interior fit-out stage, it said.

To Pakistan, shipments of American hardwood lumber rose by 19 per cent in volume and by 17 per cent in value during the January to June period of this year, reaching 9,153 cm and $7.09 million respectively. The volume shipped was almost completely accounted for by ash. Among the other major Mena markets for US hardwoods, exports to both Egypt and Turkey were down during the January to June period of this year. Exports to Egypt, which saw significant growth during the past two years, fell by 27 per cent in volume and by 26 per cent in value during the first half of this year, to 4,166 cm and $3.23 million respectively. The majority of this decrease was accounted for by lower shipments of red oak, while exports of white oak to the market actually picked up marginally.

Turkey’s imports of US hardwood lumber fell by 12 per cent in volume to 4,880 cm and by 6 per cent in value to $4.17 million. However, this was entirely due to a reduction in imports of species other than ash, which are destined for general use in the market and not for thermal-modification. Turkey’s economy has slowed considerably during the past couple of years and construction activity is far lower than before. However, for the producers of TMT (thermally-modified timber) in Turkey, the local market is less important and imports of American ash for this process actually nearly doubled during the first half of this year. “While 2016 was a slow year for exports of American hardwood lumber and veneer to the Mena region (this includes Pakistan), 2017 has, so far, proven to be very positive. In fact, the total volume of hardwood lumber shipped from the US to the region in the first half of this year is already equal to more than two thirds of the total shipped during the whole of 2016. In terms of species, red oak, walnut, ash and white oak continue to dominate the share of exports to the region. However, it is encouraging to see higher volumes of tulipwood, maple and cherry being exported across different markets,” concluded Roderick Wiles, AHEC director for Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania.

AHEC runs a worldwide programme to promote American hardwoods in over 50 export markets, concentrating on providing architects, specifiers, designers and end-users with technical information on the range of species, products and sources of supply.




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