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American hardwood exports continue to grow in 2014 in Southeast Asia and Greater China

posted on December 9, 2014

Data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the first three quarters of 2014 shows a continuing growth in global exports of American hardwood products with an increase of 22% in value in comparison to the same period last year.

American hardwood lumber exports to Southeast Asia represent US$195.9 million in value for the first nine months suggesting that the overall value in 2014 would be estimated at $261.2 million if shipments continue at the same rate in the final quarter. From 2009, the annual increase is 126% in five years.

The export of US hardwood lumber to Vietnam accounts to nearly 75% of the total of US hardwood lumber export to Southeast Asia. This large increase attributes to the steady growth in furniture, joinery and flooring markets.

Malaysia has shown an increase of 18% of American hardwood lumber as well as an increase of 16% of veneer imports. Thailand continues to be the fourth largest market in Southeast Asia for American hardwood products with an increase of 12% of hardwood lumber. Plywood had the largest import value with an increase of 721% in comparison to log imports which decreased by 15%.

The Philippines is a relatively small market for American hardwoods however there has been an increase in lumber exports to 44% in value from the same period last year. Although Singapore showed a decrease of hardwood lumber there has been an increase of veneer and hardwood flooring which indicates demand for furniture and flooring. However Singapore companies remain highly competitive by setting up production facilities in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

U.S. exports of sawn hardwood lumber to China were up 40% in value and American hardwood logs up 45%. Most of this is now consumed domestically, making it by far the largest market for American hardwood exports. The total value for the first three quarters of 2014 for Greater China including Hong Kong and Taiwan was US$1.26 billion. This is in caparison to US$813,057,959 in 2013. Major sectors are furniture and flooring, especially Oak, the popularity of which continues to rise exponentially for flooring in China. John Chan, AHEC Regional Director for Southeast Asia and Greater China said "This data demonstrates US hardwoods continuing to make strong progress throughout Asia".