Timber Development UK has released a market statement to provide greater clarity on the current supply and demand situation. The market statement provides a detailed analysis of the past year, looking at the import and price statistics of 2021, as well as how recent events will impact inflationary trends in 2022.
One key takeaway from the statement is that the timber supply chain is resilient with 2021 proving to be a record year for imports despite significant disruptions to the market. Import volumes in 2021 reached nearly 11.7 million m3 – a 15% increase on 2020. This is the largest volume of imports seen in the UK since 2008, reflecting strong demand for timber products.
With another year of significant disruption highly likely due to the invasion of Ukraine and economic sanctions against Russia and Belarus, communication across the supply chain will remain vital. The report considers how the invasion will influence supply, demand and price, and recent market trends, with consideration given to construction forecasts for 2022.
Nick Boulton, Timber Development UK head of technical and trade policy, said: “This market statement provides clarity on what was a truly remarkable year for our industry, as well as what we can expect in 2022.
“Reflecting on 2021, for the first time in my memory we saw timber nearly cleared off the shelves of all merchants.
“A strong RM&I sector, a resurgent housing market and a construction industry looking to rapidly decarbonise led to unprecedented demand for timber in the UK.
“This all put significant pressure on price over the course of 2021, taking some specific products like structural softwood, OSB and US hardwoods to unprecedented levels.
“Despite these challenges, the past year has shown the strength and resilience of the timber supply chain which ensured material needs were met through record imports in 2021.
“I would like to say that we are moving back towards normality in 2022, however, the supply situation remains particularly tricky given continuing labour shortages and high fuel costs.
“Recent weeks have also seen the awful illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia which is likely to exacerbate existing supply and price pressures.
“Yet against this backdrop, timber will continue to play a pivotal role in 2022 as the UK looks to build back better, safer, and greener while achieving net-zero targets.
“As the only mainstream low carbon construction product, timber will be central in our bid to reduce construction emissions.”