US tropical hardwood imports fall 24% since 2002
May 16, 2007
The United States is importing considerable less tropical hardwood according to the International Tropical Timber Organization’s (ITTO) Tropical Timber Market Report.
ITTO figures show that 2006 volume of US tropical hardwood imports was 176,806 cubic meters, down from 231,615 cubic meters in 2002, a decline of almost 24 percent. The industry group said that share of tropical hardwood imports in the U.S. market fluctuates on a cyclic basis due to economics.
“Tropical hardwoods fetch a sizeable price premium in the USA in comparison to imported temperate hardwoods,” stated the ITTO. “Nevertheless, during the period under review, prices of imported tropical woods grew relatively by much less than prices of imported temperate woods. The price premium of tropical woods is rather volatile. In 2002, the average price for tropical woods was almost three times as high as the one for imported temperate woods. By 2006, tropical prices were only twice as high as temperate prices.”
The most common tropical species imported by the U.S. include mahogany (mainly from Peru), balsa (mainly from Ecuador) and red meranti (mainly from Malaysia), according to the ITTO. It adds that temperate hardwoods account for most of US hardwood lumber imports, lead by maple, then cherry and walnut.