Latest Export Figures Show Shifts In Demand For American Red Oak In Indonesia

The latest figures released by the American Hardwood Export Council show evidence for the growing popularity of America’s most abundant hardwood species

Data just released by the United States Department of Agriculture shows exports of American red oak lumber to Indonesia increased by 15% in volume in 2023, making it the dominant species of choice for that market. The lesser-known cousin of American white oak, which has previously been the most popular species of oak, red oak has grown in popularity in many key export markets around the world in a 12-month period.  

American red oak is the most abundant species in the American hardwood forest. Readily available, and of a consistently high quality, red oak has similar characteristics to white oak in terms of strength and stability, but its more open grain means it is more suitable for staining which makes it a more versatile choice. 

 “We are seeing the savvier specifiers in the region turning to red oak.  They recognise its quality and value” says John Chan Regional Director for the American Hardwood Export Council.

The new figures also showed American white oak lumber continues to be the most popular oak in Vietnam, which is the biggest importer of American species in the region, with year-on-year volume growth of 3% to 89 thousand cubic metres and a value of nearly USD49 million. Interestingly, in the smaller markets of Thailand and Cambodia, red oak is also taking a foothold in terms of logs with exports to those markets growing by 77% and 216% in volume respectively. 

“Cambodia is an interesting emerging market for us” Mr Chan adds. “And whilst in many ways the Southeast Asia market as a whole has been challenging, we are lucky that in many markets in the region the importers, manufacturers, designers and architects are very sophisticated in their understanding and use of different species and are willing to consider the opportunities that different species present. They also recognise the shifting demands of the global consumer and so particularly value the strong and proven environmental credentials of US hardwoods. We are delighted that our industry can supply raw materials that meet their exacting needs.”

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