From a position at the end of last August, when 2013 cumulative timber product import volumes were down by 2% (more than 100,000m3) compared to 2012, the TTF said the situation had reversed because of "dramatic" growth in September and October, with cumulative volumes nearly 5% higher (317,000m3) by the end of October.

September’s volumes (for all main timber and panel products) were up by 34.5%. Volumes for both months were the best for five years.

Plywood product imports also grew strongly in the autumn, with hardwood ply registering a spike in October as a result of increases from Asian supplier countries. Chinese volumes more than doubled for the month, with Malaysia and Indonesia also posting growth.

For softwood ply, cumulative volumes were up 11.6%, with Brazil doubling its UK export volumes in October (compared to a year before). Volumes from China, subject to an investigation by HMRC, grew substantially in January-October.

Particleboard imports grew by 36.3% in January-October, following a 15.4% dip in 2012. Portugal and Spain led the way with 131% and 90% increases in volumes. Germany and France raised their volumes substantially in October, accounting for most of the 16,500m3 increase in the month.

OSB and MDF imports were up 12.7% and 2.5% respectively in January-October, while hardwood remained the only product sector where volume was lower for January-October (-5.8%).