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Wed 8 Oct 2008 11:16 AM

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US hardwood exports to MENA region show continued growth

Walnut in demand for hotel, commercial and residential interiors.

During the first six months of 2008, total direct exports of American hardwood logs, lumber and veneer to the MENA region grew by 29.3% in value, reaching US $38.5 million.

Overall, shipments of US hardwood lumber to the region grew by 5.8% in value to US $16.7 million and the UAE’s imports, alone, increased by 11.2% to US $4.8 million.

In terms of species, US hardwood lumber exports to the Middle East continued to be dominated by red oak in the first six months of 2008, which accounted for some 7,218m3 or 32.5% of total exports. However, this percentage is lower than it was during the first half of 2007 (39.0%) and the previous years, when red oak accounted for around 75% of all US hardwood lumber exported to the region.

Since the influence of US and European fashions in the region, which is where many of the architects and interior designers originate from, significant increases in the demand were noted.

Shipments of ash to the region, grew by 18.3% to 5,196m3, as well as white oak, which grew from 1,745m3 in January to June of 2007 to 3,277m3 this year.

It now seems that there is a general move away from red oak in most MENA region markets and that white oak and ash are becoming far more important. This is mainly due to the influence of increases were also seen in walnut shipments (80.3%), which is very much in fashion for hotel, commercial and residential interiors.

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