Industry News

EU Referendum: Timber traders back Remain vote, TTF survey shows

The results of the latest survey run by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) among its members show a strong support for the UK to remain in the European Union.

According to the poll, 76 % of the respondents think the UK should stay in the EU, while 16% are in favour of leaving.

Considering the impact on the UK economy as a whole, 80% of the respondents believe the UK will benefit from remaining in the European Union, while 11% indicate ‘Brexit’ as the best solution.

In details, survey participants express concern about the uncertain economical and political scenario following a possible exit from the EU. Remarkably, comments stress how the replacement of European standards and regulations could affect UK trade over the coming years.

Respondents also highlight the necessity of a reformed EU where benefits and responsibilities are distributed more equally among member states.

“The TTF is not taking an official position on the referendum either way, but this survey gives an unequivocal view from the Members. It is perhaps unsurprising that uncertainty and lack of clarity from the Brexit camp about what leaving the EU would achieve does not impress a business sector for whom the EU is their biggest trading partner", says David Hopkins, Managing Director of the Timber Trade Federation. 

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TTF Statistical Bulletin shows price fluctuations across all timber products

According to the latest Timber Trade Federation Statistical Bulletin, imports of timber products were 3% higher in the first two months of 2016 compared to the same period of 2015.

Growth has been driven largely by plywood and other panel products, while solid wood imports have dropped.

In details, import volume in the first two months of 2016 was around 46,000m3 higher than for the first two months of 2015, but this was mostly due to substantially higher volumes of plywood imported in 2016 in these two months. The overall volume of the main timber and panel products imported from January to February 2016 was around 1,551,000m3 .

The TTF Bulletin also shows marked fluctuation in products prices both on a month by month and year by year basis.  

For example, in relation to the average price of a “basket” of imported softwood, the 12 month period between March 2014 and February 2015 showed a drop of 7.9%.

TTF Members can download the complete TTF May 2016 Bulletin here.


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INTERPOL launches new 'Ecomessage' system to fight environmental crimes

INTERPOL, the international organisation connecting police forces worldwide, has recently published new guidelines to track and tackle forest-related crimes more effectively.

The guidelines - downloadable here - describe the types of information that are most valuable to law enforcement agencies. They provide a standardised format – the 'Ecomessage' – that anyone can use to report illegal logging, timber smuggling, illicit trade or importing companies in the EU failing to comply with their EUTR due diligence obligations.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact their national law enforcement agency (police, customs or environmental government agencies) if they wish to provide sensitive information and help in investigations, using the Ecomessage system.

"The 'Ecomessage' enables both INTERPOL and national decision-makers to proactively identify high-risk areas and persons and to devise tailored activities and operations in response. This vital step towards effective intelligence-led policing is the comprehensive collection of data from our member countries across the world, in order to enable a truly global analysis of environmental crime", said the INTERPOL.


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Timber Trade Federation launches survey on EU membership

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has launched an online survey to collect members’ views on the EU referendum to take place on 23 June 2016. The deadline for submission is Thursday 5th of May 2016.

The survey - available here - will help the TTF understand its members’ needs and expectations about the future of timber industry and UK economy.

The TTF has clarified that it does not intend to take a view. Instead, "it will feed the data into ongoing work through the Construction Products Association (CPA) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)."

“This referendum should make us think about those areas we consider important for social and economic development – in Europe and the UK – and force us to become more proactively engaged in achieving them”, said TTF Managing Director David Hopkins in a recent interview with the Timber Trade Journal.

In the chart below you can see the results of relevant UK business polls on EU Membership (last update: April 2016).

All the figures have been sourced on the organisations' websites.

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Exports of American hardwood to UK declined in 2015

As reported by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), in 2015 the volume of US sawn hardwood exports to the UK fell to 93,000 m3 from 105,000 m3 in 2014.

However, exports to the UK in 2015 were still significantly higher than in 2013 and contribute to a general, upward trend. The downturn last year was evident across all the main species exports into the UK including white oak (the species which accounts for over half the US timber sold in the UK), tulipwood and ash. Conversely, exports of walnut to the UK market continue to grow, making 2015 the sixth consecutive year of increasing exports.

On a continental scale, the economic value of US sawn hardwood exports to Europe declined by 9.9% to $277 million, while volume fell 11.1% to 348,100 m3.

Rising exports to Spain and Ireland managed to offset the declining exports to the UK, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Sweden. Despite a fall in exports of species including tulipwood and ash, the exports of white oak and red oak increased slightly.

These declines occurred at a time when European currencies weakened sharply against the dollar and there was only slow post-recession growth in key economic sectors, like construction and furniture.


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