Local producers of wooden furniture are struggling due to an increase in the price of imported wood that has negatively affected their operations.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Wood Processing Association (HAWA), the cost of timber imported from the US , Europe and Africa rose by 20 percent in the last five months.

"Normally, import prices fluctuate from 5-7 percent, but 20 percent is a big hit and is eating into producers' profits," said HAWA's vice president Huynh Van Hanh.

Hanh said producers have already fixed sale prices for the next 3-6 months, so the sudden hike in input materials is causing big losses.

He attributed the rise in import prices to the ongoing recovery of the US construction industry which has increased demand there, and the narrowing supply from Africa .

Nguyen Chien Thang, director of Scansia Pacific, a prominent furniture producer and exporter based in HCM City , said his company is faced with big challenges.

"The demand for high grade wooden furniture is rising, especially from Japan . This price hike is hurting our business," Thang added.

Vo Truong Thanh, chairman of the Truong Thanh Wood Group, said the price of local timber remained stable, so his company would use it as a substitute.

"However, we have to talk to our clients about changing the material," he added.

According to the General Department of Customs, the export volume of wooden furniture in the first six months of the year reached 2.23 billion USD, up 11 percent year-on year, while the import volume of wood fell 5 percent to 617 million USD.-VNA