UK timber import “resurgence” while construction contract awards hold steady in 2020

While timber imports came to a near standstill in March 2020 thanks to Covid-19, the sector has bounced back significantly, according to the Timber Trade Federation (TTF).

Softwood fared particularly well, recovering from a 24% drop in Q1/Q2 to a year import rise of 3% (over 2019 figures). 4.9 million m3 was imported between August and December 2020.

Comparable trends for plywood, MDF, hardwood and others saw an overall drop in timber imports of a modest 3%, compared with 2019. More detailed statistics are available to TTF members.

CONSTRUCTION: Contract award values reach £57 billion in 2020; down 5% on 2019

Construction contract awards in 2020 were broadly stable compared with 2019, despite the highly disruptive Covid-19 pandemic. The Barbour ABI Economic & Construction Market Review found a slight decrease (4.7%) on 2019 numbers, with 2020 contract awards at £57 billion. Contract award values held steady in 2020, but the number of contract awards declined by just under 16%.

Numbers in 2021 (February) remain under par, despite being up (11%) on January levels. However, no single project was valued over £200 million, indicating underlying activity has increased.

The industrial sector, particularly warehousing, was named the “hottest sector” with significant distribution hubs in Wakefield and a Lidl distribution centre in Bedfordshire awarded.

Image by antmoreton from Pixabay

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