Timbmet comment: Q1 2019

Nigel Cox, Managing Director Timbmet is BMBI’s Expert for Timber & Panel Products.

Contingency planning for Brexit took up significant time in Q1. Ensuring continuity of supply was of the utmost importance as we sought clarity on importing protocols and procedures. Stock levels were increased to cover all eventualities so we start Q2 in a healthy stock position.

Timber and panel products continued to outperform many of the sectors in Q1, but it was clear that the economic uncertainty impacted on consumer confidence. Performance suffered during February and March. With good weather ahead we must remain optimistic for a stronger Q2.

Product availability is generally good. Producers have addressed the supply issues with panel products. Hardwood timber demand continues to increase for European and American timbers. There is also strong demand from developing markets such as India, Australasia and Latin America. The continuing trade war between America and China creates uncertainty which has the potential to impact on the availability of American or European oak.

African timber supply remains under pressure with the availability of Sapele, Iroko and Idigbo all a concern. The demand for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) material is putting producers under increased pressure. With an increasingly environmentally aware audience, products certified by the FSC from sustainably managed sources are becoming more and more sought after. Merchants should consider alternatives, especially plantation-grown wood such as Red Grandis from Uruguay. Red Grandis is a high-quality durable hardwood that machines well and is easy to paint or stain.

The decking season is again upon us. We are happy to report that there is a good supply of hardwood decking available, typically Balau, as well as quality hardwood based composite decking for the less traditional.

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF), Wood Protection Association (WPA) and Timber Decking and Cladding Association (TDCA) are working to help produce clear guidance for cladding systems. The group will look at the importance of fire rated materials, construction products regulations and quality assurance schemes for fire rated products and installation.

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