Brazil’s panel producers saw their sales soar in 2010 as the country’s economy recovered strongly and GDP surged by 7.5% following the gloom of the year before.

Particleboard, known in Brazil as medium density particleboard (MDP), outperformed all expectations last year with national production and consumption rising by more than 20%, according to the Brazilian Wood Panel Industry Association (ABIPA).

MDP capacity was up 13% from 4 million m3/year in 2009 to 4.5 million m3/year last year as Masisa do Brasil’s big new continuous 750,000m3/year line in Montenegro, Rio Grande do Sul entered its production ramp up.

This will continue in 2011 pushing industry MDP capacity up to 4.8 million m3/year, predicted ABIPA.

Demand for MDF panels rose sharply by 27.8% in 2010, reinforcing the signs of a powerful Brazilian recovery, while production was up by nearly 27%. Exports of MDF decreased by 25.6% in the year but imports rose by more than 33% after contracting the year before.

More than half of Brazil’s MDF output was of raw board with 91% of the overall production thicker panels of 9mm and over. As to the market, the furniture sector took 55% of the output, as in 2009, with 8% going into construction and 4% for laminate wood flooring.