US hardwood lumber and veneer exports to Middle East and North Africa top $43.22m in first half of 2012
- United Arab Emirates: Sunday, September 02 - 2012 at 12:50
- PRESS RELEASE
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has maintained its position as an important destination for American hardwoods with over $43.22m worth of hardwood lumber and veneer imports entering the region during the first half of 2012, according to a statement issued by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry.
"These statistics have been taken from the latest data released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and account for direct shipments to the MENA region. However, it is important to note that American hardwood veneers are shipped to the region from Europe and China while veneers are also produced in the region - notably in Turkey - from imported American hardwood logs. The USDA data released shows that US hardwood log exports to the MENA reached a value of $13.05m and a volume of 20,514 cubic metres during the same period," said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Director for Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania.
A closer look at the numbers reveals that 29% of the volume of American hardwood lumber shipped to the region during the six month period was accounted for by red oak (12,398 cubic metres), which actually fell by 14% from the same period in 2011. However, shipments of ash and white oak to the region picked up significantly from the first half of last year, rising by 50% to 9,369 cubic metres and by 29% to 6,032 cubic metres respectively. Further, exports of American walnut lumber to the region during the January to June period of this year were also strong and rose by 83% in volume to 3,614 cubic metres, as compared to the same period in 2011. In veneers, exports were dominated by red oak, with significant volumes of walnut, white oak and maple.
"The MENA region continues to show strong demand for American hardwoods and white oak in particular, which is currently in demand across the globe and widely preferred for its colour consistency, durability and strong physical properties, making it the perfect material for interior applications and furniture. Market reports indicate that the overall interior contracting and fit-out market in the GCC will increase by 87% in value this year, the highest increase since 2008, from $5.04bn in 2011 to $9.4bn. As such, we remain confident that through our ongoing education and outreach program, we can contribute towards an even greater demand for US hardwoods in the coming months and years," added Wiles.
In value terms, the UAE remained a key destination in the MENA region and shipments increased healthily during the period, with US hardwood lumber exports rising by 13% in volume to 7,681 cubic metres and by 21% in value to $6.50m. It is important to note, however, that as much as a third of the volume of American hardwood lumber shipped to the UAE is actually destined for other markets in the neighboring Gulf, across the Strait of Hormuz or down the East coast of Africa. Shipments to the UAE were dominated by ash, with significant volumes of red oak, white oak and walnut making up the remainder. Other leading destinations for American hardwood lumber in the region included Saudi Arabia ($3.494m), Egypt ($2.679m), Jordan (2.047 million), Lebanon ($1.629m) and Qatar ($998,000).
"The increase in American hardwood lumber and veneer imports into the MENA region in the first six months of this year underlines the growing demand for US hardwoods. Significantly, governments across the region have recognized the need to drive sustainability and sound environmental practices within the construction and timber industries, which provides AHEC with the perfect opportunity to highlight the environmental credentials of American hardwoods. With the release of our ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment study on US hardwood lumber, we hope to elevate the environmental credentials of American hardwoods and further increase awareness in this high growth potential market," concluded Wiles.
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