Russia sold $50 million worth of plywood in the USA in 2023
From：Taiwan Trade Center, Moscow
According to data from Lesprom Analytics, which Vedomosti reviewed, 89,000 cubic meters were exported from Russia to the United States in the first seven months of the year. This is 65.9% less compared to the same period in 2022. In monetary terms, deliveries decreased by 76.8% year-on-year, amounting to $52 million. The average export price of supplies to the U.S. market in the first seven months also decreased relative to the same period in 2022—by 32% to $584 per cubic meter. Before the introduction of sanctions due to its presence in Ukraine in 2021, Russia ranked 5th in terms of plywood supplies to the USA. The country's share in total imports was 7.4%. In total, 568,800 cubic meters of plywood worth $361.3 million were shipped from Russia to the American market in 2021 at an average price of $635 per cubic meter.
In January – July 2023, Russia was only in 8th place in terms of supplies to the United States. The first lines are for Brazil and Spain. In total, 823,586 cubic meters of plywood were sold for export from Russia in seven months, according to WhatWood. Production, according to Rosstat, amounted to 1.88 million cubic meters.
Supplies of Russian plywood to the United States began to decline after the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022. Although Washington, unlike the EU, did not impose sanctions on the Russian timber industry, in the spring of 2022, the States abolished the so-called most-favored-nation regime (the provision of customs and tax benefits) in trade with Russia and Belarus. As a result, the import duty on plywood supplies from Russia increased from zero to 50%.
Against this background, the United States increased purchases of plywood from Spain in the first seven months of 2023: shipments increased fivefold from January to July 2022, amounting to 345,700 cubic meters. Brazil remained the largest exporter of plywood to the United States. Total plywood imports to the United States during this period decreased by almost 50% to 2.4 million cubic meters.
In September of this year, Vologda Timber Producers and Cherepovets Plywood and Furniture Plant will launch the largest plywood production plant in Russia, Plitwood, with a capacity of up to 180,000 cubic meters per year. Dmitry Zachko, CEO of Plitwood, told Vedomosti that there are already agreements on the supply of plywood to the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and the CIS. According to him, no deliveries are planned in the USA.
WhatWood consultant Igor Novoselov confirmed that Russian timber producers continue to export plywood to the USA. According to him, now about 30 companies, mainly large manufacturers, supply plywood to this country. Konstantin Agapov, an expert in the practice of LPC Strategy Partners, adds that most shipments come from the Arkhangelsk and Leningrad regions due to their favorable location in terms of logistics. He explains that Russian-made plywood has always been in demand in the United States due to its "special characteristics" - for example, density, which distinguishes it from Asian products.
The increase in import duties on Russian plywood in the United States really affected the volume of supplies, but the export price still remains competitive compared to the domestic market of Russia (25,000-30,000 rubles per cubic meter) and major export regions such as the Middle East and the CIS ($300-350 per cubic meter), Agapov adds. "The weakening of the ruble also increases interest in this market, but buyers in the United States will quickly adapt and continue to reduce the price in dollars," notes the analyst. Novoselov adds that, in addition to the increase in duties, the volume of deliveries was affected by deteriorating logistics, including a reduction in the number of sea lines operating in Russia and an increase in freight costs.