Yokohama, Japan: According to ITTO, after making gains last year, EU imports of tropical veneer have continued to rise in 2017, hitting 40,000 metric tonnes (MT) in the first quarter, a 15 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016. As in 2016, most gains were in imports from Gabon, which increased 28 percent to 21,700 MT in the first quarter of 2017.
EU veneer imports also increased from several smaller supplying countries including Congo (+18 percent to 2,900 MT), DRC (+187 percent to 1,400 MT) and Equatorial Guinea (+45 percent to 1,400 MT). However, imports declined from Côted'Ivoire (-19 percent to 6,600 MT), Cameroon (-1 percent to 3,000 MT), and Ghana (-12 percent to 1,500 MT).
EU imports of veneer from Gabon consist mainly of rotary okoumé veneer destined for plywood manufacturers in France. The EU market for decorative tropical hardwood veneers is benefitting to some extent from the slow recovery in EU furniture and joinery manufacturing activity.