New Zealand’s log exports totalled 22.364 million m3 in 2018-19, rising more than 2.4 million m3 (12.0%) to reach the new annual record. Chinese demand continued to drive exports, with shipments to China lifting 18.0% or 2.7 million m3 to 17.929 million m3 for the year. Source: Timberbiz
Shipments to China accounted for 80.2% of the total over the year, up from 76.1% in 2017-18. As the chart and table below demonstrate, shipments to South Korea (-9.8%) and ‘Other’ nations (-20.2%) were curtailed to accommodate China’s near insatiable demand for softwood logs from the Asian south. Shipments to India lifted a solid 12.8% to 1.332 million m3.
Notably, Australia’s softwood log exports are also dominated by supply to China.
The much-respected leading export facility – the Tauranga Seaport – continued its dominance of New Zealand’s total exports in 2018-19. Indeed, Tauranga grew its share, albeit marginally. Exports from it rose 13.2% to an eye watering 7.059 million m3.
The chart below shows the Tauranga Seaport’s dominance, but just as important, it demonstrates that nearly all the nation’s ports are actively engaged in exporting logs. The line and the right-hand side show annual exports.
Although these are only aggregate volumes and below, total average prices, they provide some clues as to the trends and directions of the log trade from New Zealand. More refined data, for specific log products is available on an ongoing basis.
We can see in the chart and the table that follows it that despite the lift in export volumes, prices in New Zealand dollars largely moved sideways over the year. In fact, they average a decline of 4.6% from June 2018 to June 2019. There is little reason to look too far for a cause of higher export volumes and lower prices.
The depreciation of the New Zealand dollar, relative to the US dollar, means buyers are paying less than a year ago while providing the sellers in New Zealand with pretty much the same price as a year ago.
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