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Hardwood and softwood prices rise

Prices for most hardwood and softwood sawn timber rose last year, with some hardwood products up more than seven per cent in the last six months, according to Indufor’s December timber market survey. Source: Timberbiz Philip Hopkins

The survey recorded softwood prices rises for the last quarter of the year, while the hardwood data covered the six months to the end of December.

In that period, hardwood structural product price rises ranged from 1.6% to 7.2%, with green sawn products recording the biggest price jump.

Other key messages in the survey were:

  • Hardwood flooring products all rose, led by Victorian ash and Tasmanian oak.
  • Treated outdoor softwood product price rises were between 1.4% and 4.7%.
  • Most softwood panel products were up by 0.1% and 1.4%, with MDF the largest (0.6% and 1.4%), while plywood was smaller.
  • Mixed results for engineered softwood products, with minor price movements of up to 0.7%. Prices for I-joists, I-beams and LVL were stable or up slightly higher.
  • Untreated MGP10 and MGP12 grade softwood product prices were up between 0.4% and 1.4%.

In structural hardwood, F17 prices moved within a narrow band, from 3.2% to 3.4%, while higher strength F27 products averaged 1.6% over the period.

Highest price rises came in green sawn F8 products from Victoria (6.2%) and F11 products from New South Wales (7.2%).

Prices for all structural products rose by 4% and 8.1% compared with 12 months ago. The largest prices movements were in green sawn products with lower strength grades.

Hardwood flooring products all rose, led by Victorian ash, which ranged between 5.9% and 6.8%. Tasmanian oak came next with 3.2%-4.3%.

“The latest results mark the first time in the last two years that price movements for Victorian ash and Tasmanian oak flooring have been (on average) above that of the other flooring species,” the survey said. Price rises for Blackbutt and Spotted gum flooring were more moderate at 1.5% and 3.3%.

Price indexes for both hardwood structural and flooring grades have appreciated by about 40 basis points since the survey began 10 years ago.

Blackbutt flooring prices have risen the most over this period, while F17 has grown the least, increasing by 22 basis points.

Structural softwood F7 products rose by about 0.8% over the quarter – the first time since early 2015 that treated F7 prices had risen for two consecutive quarters.

Similarly, treated outdoor softwood products registered two consecutive quarter price rises, with increases in the December period up 1.4%-4.7%.

Treated decking prices had a big lift last year, being 9.2% higher (in nominal price terms) than 12 months ago.