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Economic trend

The Spanish economy has started to recover from the economic crisis in 2014, but GDP growth has lost momentum again in 2017 (+2.9%) and 2018 (+2.5%). GDP growth is expected to decline further, to 2.2% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020, according to the OECD Economic Outlook.

Household consumption and consumer confidence have weakened in 2018, amid a slow-down in wage increases and employment growth as well as rising oil prices.

The Spanish construction sector, traditionally a main driver of timber consumption, continued its rebound, with an estimated growth rate of 4.2% in 2017, according to Altradius. However, construction recovery comes from a very low post-recession level. In 2018, construction is expected to increase again by about 2.5-3%, mainly driven by residential and commercial building.

Trade with VPA partner countries

Spain imports wood furniture from Indonesia and Vietnam and a range of other wood products, primarily sawn hardwood and veneers from the African VPA partner countries. Imports of wood furniture from both Indonesia and Vietnam have increased over the last few years, but still remain far below pre-recession levels, especially from Indonesia.

Spanish imports of tropical sawn hardwood from VPA partner countries are only a fraction of what they were before the economic crisis. Following on recovery in 2017, they dropped again dramatically (-37%) in 2017. The bulk of this decline occurred in business with Cameroon, by far the most important tropical sawn hardwood supplier for the Spanish market.

IMM 2018 survey respondents explained the renewed decline in tropical sawn timber imports primarily with increased substitution of tropical timber with non-wood materials. Other reasons would be supply shortages due to diversion of supplies to other markets, long lead times and too much bureaucracy involved in importing tropical timber.

As most of Spain’s tropical sawn hardwood imports come from the African continent, especially from Cameroon and Gabon, industry representatives expressed strong interest in FLEGT-licensed timber from the African continent

For more information and latest trade data go to the IMM Data Dashboard .