European timber businesses suggest a range of factors that may explain the apparent dichotomy between good underlying demand for hardwoods and the sharp fall in imports of tropical wood in 2017. Some are short-term trade trends, others longer-term international market structural changes. According to some importers, one reason is adjustment after over optimistic buying in 2015 and 2016. Trade was further disrupted in 2017 by particularly heavy seasonal rains in both Africa and Asia. Worsening congestion at the Cameroon port of Douala, due to supply bottlenecks following the rains, combined ...
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