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Log Exports – Softwood down 70%, Hardwood reportedly up 25.7%

IndustryEdge’s Australian and New Zealand Export Log Price Index dropped in January 2022 to its lowest point in more than a year before rebounding. In August the price index dropped slightly to USD107.27/m3. The combined index value for July trade was 105.2%, meaning the average log price was 5.2% higher than the index starting point in January 2017.

The index combines and weights softwood log exports from Australia and New Zealand. The index provides a consistent view of the price being achieved for the region’s logs, for the combined trade from Australia and New Zealand, as well as for each of Australia and New Zealand separately.

Available under the View menu on Wood Market Edge online, the ANZ Log Export Price Index provides a snapshot of the log export trade and is supported by extensive downloadable files and other trade visualisations.

Australian Softwood Log Exports down 70.1%

August 2022 was the twenty fourth consecutive month to record declines in Australia’s annual softwood log exports, with the annual volume dropping significantly compared to the year prior. Softwood logs are now being chipped and exported after China imposed a ban on Australian logs.

Across the year-ended August 2022, Australia’s total exports of softwood logs were down a significant 70.1% to total just 0.597 million m3 for the year. There may be some change coming in the market, with India emerging as a new destination, receiving small but regular shipments. Monthly volumes fluctuate, and in August exports were recorded at 41,364 m3.

For export, softwood logs are differentiated as larger or smaller than 15cm diameter. The distinction between log sizes was previously more noteworthy, but analysis becomes challenging as monthly export volumes are increasingly erratic, as seen in the chart.

Australian Softwood Log Exports by Size: Jan ’17 – Aug ’22 (‘000 m3 and AUDFob/m3)

Source: ABS

As displayed in the chart, the larger logs (diameter > 15cm) previously dominated Australia’s export trade. Since 2021, the trend had shifted to favouring exports of the smaller diameter logs, albeit with much diminished volumes. However in recent months, with the emergence of India as a new destination country, the larger diameter logs have reasserted their dominance.

For the year ended August 2022, exports of the smaller logs totalled 0.199 million m3 or 33.3%, while shipments of larger logs totalled 0.399 million m3 (66.7%).

Differentiation of exports based on their diameter also allows for price analysis. Export prices for the smaller sized logs have remained at a relatively stable price in recent months, moving through a narrow range, while the average price of the larger diameter logs has fluctuated, however both seem to be averaging approximately AUDFob120/m3.

Hardwood Log exports up 25.7% – June data still in doubt

Malaysia is now the key recipient of Australian Hardwood log exports, having replaced China as the dominant market player. In June, the trade data indicates that Vietnam also received significant volumes of Australian hardwood logs (206,000+ m3). We still urge caution when using that June data.

In August 2022, Australia’s export volume totalled a more typical 24,434 m3 for the month. The average price for August’s exports was reported at AUDFob205.75/m3.

Examined on a full-year basis, across the 12-months-ended August 2022, Hardwood log exports were reportedly up 25.7% to total 534,597 m3. We anticipate these figures may be adjusted in a future data release.

Australian Hardwood Log Exports by Country: Jan ’17 – Aug ’22 (‘000 m3 & AUDFob/m3)

Note: Select Countries

 

The table below shows hardwood log exports by State for the last three months.

Across the year-ended June 2022, exports from Tasmania dominated, totalling 365,955m3 and reportedly accounting for 68.5% of all Australian exports, although we suspect this percentage will be higher once data errors are rectified. Tasmania ships significant volumes to Malaysia.

 

Australian Hardwood Log Exports by State: Jun ’22 – Aug ’22 (m3)

State

Jun ‘22

Jul ‘22

Aug ‘22

NSW

248

119

179

Victoria

134,580*

382

45

Queensland

2,612

972

2,458

Western Australia

402

91

95

Tasmania

68,250*

42,202

21,397

South Australia

Total

206,091*

43,767

24,173

Source: ABS

* possible data reporting error

Posted Date: November 9, 2022

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