Total exports of US hardwood lumber and veneer to the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region reached a record $108.93 million in 2014, says the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), revealing statistics compiled from the latest data released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
These figures indicate an overall 20 per cent increase over 2013 figures, said the organisation.
According to the data released, exports of American hardwood lumber reached a value of $79.07 million and a volume of 98,425 cu m during 2014. This equates to an increase in value of 23 per cent over 2013 and an increase in volume of eight per cent. Direct exports of US hardwood veneers to the Mena region reached a total value of $29.86 million last year, rising by 12 per cent from 2013.
However, American hardwood veneers are also shipped to the region from European countries and China, while veneers are also produced in the region – notably in Turkey – from imported American hardwood logs. US hardwood log exports to the Mena region reached a total volume of 34,957 cu m and a value of $20.47 million in 2014.
Commenting on the record exports to the region, Roderick Wiles, AHEC director for Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania, says: “The most significant increases in shipments of US hardwood lumber were seen in the UAE (up by 48 per cent to 15,723 cu m), Egypt (up by 22 per cent to 11,614 cu m), Jordan (up by 18 per cent to 5,949 cu m), Lebanon (up by 23 per cent to 4,735 cu m), Qatar (up by 55 per cent to 3,015 cu m) and Morocco (up by 31 per cent to 2,329 cu m). However, a marginal downturn in volume of only two per cent was seen in shipments to Turkey, which reached 12,700 cu m and a slight downturn was seen in shipments to Saudi Arabia, which reached 10,513 cu m.”
In terms of species, shipments of red oak lumber to the Mena region reached a volume of 33,578 cu m during 2014 and accounted for 34 per cent of the total volume of US hardwood lumber exported. However, this share of the total is much less than it has been in previous years and this is because higher volumes of ash, white oak and tulipwood are being shipped to the region, in line with global trends.
The volume of ash lumber exported reached 20,885 cu m, with around half of this total (10,247 cu m) being shipped to Pakistan and around half of the remainder (4,992 cu m) being shipped to Turkey, mainly for the production of thermally-modified decking and cladding. White oak lumber exports to the Mena region last year reached 16,023 cu m, rising from 11,846 cu m in 2013.