Export log market update

Friday 2 May 2014

NZ log exports

Export volumes in February were a February record, with 1.4 million m³ exported. Volumes were up on February last year by 16%. Logs exported to China were up by 21% year-on-year for February. Exports to Korea were steady at 150,000m³ and exports to India rose to 133,000m³.

Exports from Canterbury are still increasing, due to the wind throw from last year’s storms being exported. Exports from Lyttleton and Timaru during the past six months are up by 72% on the six months previous. This is an increase of 284,000t compared to the same period the year previous, more than double. There’s been just under 560,000m³, an unknown proportion of which is the wind throw, exported from Canterbury since the storm, and there were estimates of up to 1 million m³ on the ground after the storm, but the real figure could be a lot higher.

Some of this will have been absorbed by the domestic market, but there will still be a lot to be exported in the next six months if it is to reach the market before it is too deteriorated. To put this in perspective to the rest of NZ’s exports though, there were 500,000m³ of logs exported from Tauranga during February alone.


The volume of softwood logs imported by China during February, as expected, was the highest ever for the month of February. There was just less than 900,000m³ more imported than in February last year, a 63% increase, which has led to rising inventories. From the Pacific North West, Russia and NZ there was a 50% increase in supply of logs year-on-year, and from elsewhere there was a 218% increase. Lumber volumes imported by China are well down, to the lowest volume imported since February 2010.

China’s newly built house price index dropped to 8.7% year-on-year in February from a record high of 9.9% in December. China’s annual GDP growth has slid back to 7.4% but it is a very controlled move, and it hasn’t affected business confidence, which increased to its highest point since the third quarter of 2011.

Pacific North West

US log exports to China have been steady through the start of the year, but there was a decline in volume exported from Canada. There has also been a decline in Canada’s lumber exports to China, but there has been steady volumes exported to the US. Cold weather and a lack of access to rail has meant that inventories have been growing at Canadian mills. This has meant price decreases in order to shift lumber. Canadian western mills SPF lumber has dropped 10% since February and there has been more volume transported to the US by road, rather than exported as there is less rail capacity to take lumber to the ports.

Source: www.nzxagri.co.nz/agrifax

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