Yokohama, Japan: According to ITTO, the latest trade data shows that the rising trend in the value of EU imports of tropical wood products that began in the second half of 2014 leveled off in 2016.
The stability in the euro value of tropical wood imports in the second half of 2016 may hide a slight fall in the volume of imports as European currencies weakened on foreign exchange markets during that period (which implies a rise in import prices).
The euro, trading at around US$1.15 in June 2016, had fallen to only US$1.05 by the end of the year. Even more pronounced is the fall in the British pound, which was trading at US$1.50 in June just before the country’s vote to leave the EU before declining to a 30-year low of US$1.29 in early July after the result and which now stands at just US$1.23.
Nevertheless, the dramatic slowdown in European tropical wood imports forecast for the second half of 2016 in response to currency movements and economic uncertainty in the UK following the Brexit vote failed to materialise. Prospects for the market in 2017 also look reasonably positive.
While the political situation in Europe is still uncertain, the economic recovery is gathering pace, helped by an improving global outlook, low interest rates, a significant fall in the level of unemployment, a weak euro and the end of austerity.