Mena imports of US woods hit $43m in H1
Dubai, September 3, 2012
The Mena region imported American hardwoods with over $43.22 million during the first half of 2012, said a top official of the American Hardwood Export Council (Ahec).
Of this total, exports of American hardwood lumber reached a value of $31.10 million and a volume of 44,444 cu m, marking an increase of 20 per cent and 13 per cent respectively over the January to June period of 2011, according to Roderick Wiles, Ahec director for Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania.
In addition, direct shipments of US hardwood veneers to the Mena region during the period reached a total value of $12.12 million, rising by 14 per cent in comparison to the same period last year, he said.
“These statistics have been taken from the latest data released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and account for direct shipments to the Mena region,” said Wiles.
“However, it is important to note that American hardwood veneers are shipped to the region from Europe and China while veneers are also produced in the region - notably in Turkey - from imported American hardwood logs.
“The USDA data released shows that US hardwood log exports to the Mena reached a value of $13.05 million and a volume of 20,514 cubic metres during the same period.”
A closer look at the numbers reveals that 29 per cent of the volume of American hardwood lumber shipped to the region during the six month period was accounted for by red oak (12,398 cubic metres), which actually fell by 14 per cent from the same period in 2011.
However, shipments of ash and white oak to the region picked up significantly from the first half of last year, rising by 50 per cent to 9,369 cu m and by 29 per cent to 6,032 cu m respectively.
Further, exports of American walnut lumber to the region during the January to June period of this year were also strong and rose by 83 per cent in volume to 3,614 cu m, as compared to the same period in 2011. In veneers, exports were dominated by red oak, with significant volumes of walnut, white oak and maple.
“The Mena region continues to show strong demand for American hardwoods and white oak in particular, which is currently in demand across the globe and widely preferred for its colour consistency, durability and strong physical properties, making it the perfect material for interior applications and furniture,” said Wiles.
“Market reports indicate that the overall interior contracting and fit-out market in the GCC will increase by 87 per cent in value this year, the highest increase since 2008, from $5.04 billion in 2011 to $9.4 billion.
As such, we remain confident that through our ongoing education and outreach program, we can contribute towards an even greater demand for US hardwoods in the coming months and years,” he added.
In value terms, the UAE remained a key destination in the Mena region and shipments increased healthily during the period, with US hardwood lumber exports rising by 13 per cent in volume to 7,681 cubic metres and by 21 per cent in value to $6.50 million.
Shipments to the UAE were dominated by ash, with significant volumes of red oak, white oak and walnut making up the remainder. Other leading destinations for American hardwood lumber in the region included Saudi Arabia ($3.494 million), Egypt ($2.679 million), Jordan (2.047 million), Lebanon ($1.629 million) and Qatar ($ 998,000).
“The increase in American hardwood lumber and veneer imports into the Mena region in the first six months of this year underlines the growing demand for US hardwoods,” Wiles said.
“Significantly, governments across the region have recognized the need to drive sustainability and sound environmental practices within the construction and timber industries, which provides Ahec with the perfect opportunity to highlight the environmental credentials of American hardwoods.
“With the release of our ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment study on US hardwood lumber, we hope to elevate the environmental credentials of American hardwoods and further increase awareness in this high growth potential market,” concluded Wiles. – TradeArabia News Service