Peru is a net importer of forest timber products. Imports remain in the order of USD 1.032 billion a year, 60.1% of which corresponds to paper and cardboard: i.e. USD 620 million. For their part, exports are around USD 219 million a year, with wood and wooden manufactured goods accounting for USD 117 million, equivalent to 54% of total exports.
The trade balance maintains an average annual deficit of USD 840 million. This imbalance is generated by the importing of paper and cardboard (60.1%) and wood and its manufactured derivatives (22.5%), particularly chip board, fiber board, and sawn lumber.
There are two sources of industrial wood production: natural Amazonian forest and plantations of exotic species in the Andean and Inter-Andean regions. The source that currently sustains domestic production and timber exports is natural Amazonian forest.
The Peruvian forestry industry, from a mechanical and chemical perspective, is not well developed. The mechanical industry’s production is based upon sawn wood (88%) and plywood boards (10%), while the chemical industry processes mostly imported pulp, paper and cardboard and a small percentage of recycled waste paper.
It should be noted that the two main imported products (chip board and fiber board) are not produced in the country and are made from wood from plantations. The growing trend for chip board observed in the accompanying graph is mostly due to the massive use of this product in the furniture industry. There has been growth of 18.2% in the period analyzed, representing an annual growth rate of 3.6%, a trend that will probably continue in the future, given that there is no substitute product.
Also, in light of the crisis within the country’s plywood industry, in the importing of these boards a steady annual increase has been observed of 3.8%.
Value of the most representative wood product imports - period 2013 - 2017
The overall outlook for exports of forestry wood products is not encouraging. The tendency is downward, in the order of 3.3% annually. The most representative product, accounting for 54% of all exports, is lumber, but figures show an annual decline of 4.52%, which is higher than the decline being experienced across the sector.
Peruvian exports of forestry products
Wood and Construction
The construction sector in Peru is experiencing annual growth of 4.7% and furniture manufacturing activity has been growing at an annual rate of 5.5%. Sawn lumber is used in formwork, window and door frames, wooden floors, baseboards and, in recent years, steady growth has been recorded in its use for pallets.
In the case of housing, there is an implied demand for wooden furniture and materials which are required to make a home habitable, and this unsatisfied demand must be met, so that the housing sector can continue to grow and meet the demand represented by Peru’s growing population.
Technology in the Wood and Furniture Industry
In the forestry and wood industry in recent years, entrepreneurs have been searching for new technologies that will allow them to improve the use of wood resources, increase their productivity and the profitability of their businesses, and enable them to be more competitive.
In the furniture industry growth is significant, and every year companies demand more machinery, raw materials, supplies and accessories for the production of furniture. The demand for furniture is boosted by the Peruvian government’s housing program, and by population growth. The furniture industry is the sector which in recent years has required increased technology in order to enable increased production and improved quality of furniture.