Australia’s hardwood log exports rose 35% in 2018

Australia’s log exports lifted 34.6% in 2018, totalling 793,130 m3. After supply-chain challenges, the month of December saw exports lift to almost 86,000 m3, very close to the monthly average of the last year.

Exports of hardwood logs are strategically different from softwood logs. They are not about ‘right-sizing’ the estate, nor do they represent the ultimate pricing rationalism. Hardwood log exports from Tasmania arise because there is no local processing option.

Over the year, the major exporting state was Tasmania, shipments from which rose more than 150% to 457,462 m3, despite softening in the December quarter. An increasingly stable export volume is being recorded for Queensland, averaging approximately 15,000 mper month.

Average prices for hardwood logs declined almost exactly at the same time as volumes began to rise. Indeed, this is the history of recent years. Look further into the data, and in general, lower prices and higher volumes relate directly to exports from Tasmania.

The table below shows hardwood log exports by State for the most recent three months for which the formal records are available.

State (m3)

Oct ‘18

Nov ‘18

Dec ‘18

NSW

899

2,403

2,291

Victoria

6,421

19,835

10,756

Queensland

10,989

11,658

11,279

Western Australia

397

891

846

Tasmania

24,645

11,636

60,376

Total

43,352

46,423

85,549

IndustryEdge’s detailed monthly hardwood log export data series contains additional insights, including specific export destinations, most of which are in China.

This item was first published in the monthly Wood Market Edge in February 2019.

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