China, Brazil, Canada and Russia Remain the Leading Suppliers of Plywood to the U.S.

Wood-Based Panels June 14, 2018
Author: Sergey Avramenko
Head of Global Markets Research Team

IndexBox has just published a new report "U.S.: Plywood – Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2025". Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The U.S. Plywood Market is Seeing a Recovery, against Construction Sector Growth in the USA

The U.S. plywood market totalled 13.1M cubic metres in 2017, a decline of 3.1M cubic metres (or 19%) against the outset level. In wholesale prices, the market totaled $5.7B in 2017, remaining relatively stable against the previous year. The market value declined sharply between 2007 and 2009, continuing with a recovery over the next six years: this was largely due to the expansion of the residential and industrial construction sector, as well as renovation of existing homes. Despite failing to reach pre-crisis figures, the trend changed in 2016 when the market declined again by 6%, stabilizing over the subsequent year (IndexBox estimates). 

The Market Is Projected to Reach 15.1M Cubic Metres

Plywood can be used for various purposes, depending on the surface treatment applied. Plywood is used in residential, commercial and industrial practice, mainly in furniture production, construction, interior decorating, and packaging, and also as coatings and wall-cladding. 

The outlook for the U.S. plywood sector depends heavily on the country's economy, particularly in terms of the housing market. From 2015-2016, the plywood market increased at a robust pace, due to the propitious housing market. The housing market in the United States is predicted to remain strong. About a +4% increase in the national median existing-home price this year is projected by the National Association of Realtors. Furthermore, an approximately +2% growth in sales is expected this year, amounting to 5.46 million and a further +4% growth to 5.68 million in 2018. The increasing number of house sales was mainly due to increasing employment, as well as low mortgage interest rates.

Driven by the current economic recovery in the U.S., the construction and household sector as a whole is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next six years. Strong employment growth is one of the main drivers that may lead to new income growth, providing a solid base for consumer spending. Another motive is easy credit availability, which creates big-ticket spending for end-use products, residential housing, and non-residential construction that in turn will influence the growth in demand for plywood.

Market performance is forecast to grow with an anticipated CAGR of +1.8% from 2017 to 2025, which is projected to lead the market volume to 15.1M cubic metres by the end of 2025.

Production still Lags behind Pre-crisis Figures

U.S. plywood manufacturing stood at 9.7M cubic metres in 2017, equating to $3.5B. The production volume demonstrated a downward trend from 2007-2009; it then remained relatively stable over the subsequent eight year period. In value terms, production witnessed a recovery over the period from 2010 to 2013 following a rise in producer prices; over the past four years, production once again fell. 

The Production Structure Is Shifting towards a Larger Non-coniferous Plywood Production 

The plywood category is an aggregate category. In this report, the total volume of production is divided into two categories: plywood, coniferous and plywood, non-coniferous.

Plywood, coniferous accounted for the highest share (81% in 2017) of U.S plywood manufacturing, followed by plywood, non-coniferous (19%). The share of plywood, non-coniferous strengthened by +6 percentage points, while plywood, coniferous saw its share reduced. 

Approx. 12% of the Market Was Buoyed by Imports from China

The share of imports in U.S. plywood consumption stood at 31% in 2017. Due to a high trade intensity, imports should be regarded as a strong factor influencing U.S. market dynamics in the medium term. Moreover, the U.S.’s main trading partner is China, and Chinese products assumed a 12% share of the plywood market in the U.S. The other suppliers were Brazil, Canada, Russia, Chile and Indonesia.

China Emerged as the Fastest Growing Foreign Market for Plywood Exports

In 2017, U.S. plywood exports expanded to 630K cubic meters. Over the period under review, the export volume indicated a mixed trend pattern: a solid growth from 2010 to 2013 was followed by a deep slump trend; slight growth then returned over the last two years. 

In 2017, Canada (42%), Mexico (21%) and China (19%) were the main destinations for plywood exports from the U.S., together comprising 82% of the total volume. China emerged as the fastest growing country of destination, with exports to this country expanding at average annual rate of +38.1% from 2007 to 2017. Exports to Canada and Mexico indicated only a moderate growth, with a CAGR of +2.6% and +1.2%, respectively.

Consequently, the share of China in terms of total exports increased significantly (+18 percentage points) from 2007-2017, while the share of Mexico lost -3 percentage points; the share of Canada remained unchanged against its outset level. 

China, Brazil, Canada and Russia Remain the Leading Suppliers of Plywood to the U.S.

From 2007 to 2017, U.S. plywood imports amounted to 4,029K cubic meters in 2017, decreasing slightly against the previous year. Prior to that, the volume of imports remanied relatively stable from 2010-2014; then it soared rapidly over the next two year period, losing ground in 2017. In value terms, plywood imports grew to $2,441M in 2017, an increase of +5% against the previous year. Unlike the volume of imports, it expanded gradually but robustly from 2010-2017, affected by both the trend pattern of imports in physical terms and the price dynamic.

In 2017, China (1,534K cubic meters) was the main supplier of plywood, comprising up to 38% of U.S. imports in physical terms, followed by, lagging far behind, Brazil (12%), Canada (12%) and Russia (10%). From 2007 to 2017, plywood imports from China roller-coasted, which finally led to a slight reduction in 2017 against its outset level. By contrast, suppliers from Russia increased by +5.7% per year over the period under review. Therefore, the share of Russia in terms of total plywood imports to the U.S. increased by +5 percentage points, while she share of China lost -4 percentage points. The shares of the other countries remained practically unchanged against their outset levels.

Do you want to know more about the U.S. plywood market? Get the latest trends and insight from our report. It includes a wide range of statistics on

  • plywood market share
  • plywood prices
  • plywood industry
  • plywood sales
  • plywood import
  • plywood export
  • plywood market forecast
  • plywood price forecast

Source: U.S.: Plywood – Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2025