Global log prices up, down and all about

Across the globe, benchmark log prices continue to travel in different trajectories, driven by varied local conditions. Among the Baltic region sawlog prices, the average price of Pine sawlogs in Sweden slumped 10.3% in the December Quarter of 2016, compared with the prior corresponding period, falling to USD51/m3. In North America, the average US South Pine price fell just 2.1% over the same period, to USD47/m3. Variable price movements indeed!

The chart below shows the movements in Baltic Pine Sawlog prices to the December Quarter 2016.


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.

There are plenty of dynamics in play in log pricing, and even in a tight geography like Europe, there are substantial geographic differences that can have a significant impact. Proximity to mills and markets, ease of access, log ages and diameters, can all play a part, for instance. So, the trend is the important thing and over this data series, we find our eye turning to the stand-outs and the relative changes.

In this case, its notable that at USD69.71/m3 in the December Quarter, the Estonian Pine Sawlog price remains solidly above all other prices. On the flipside, we can see that the average price of the Swedish Pine Sawlog fell to USD50.96/m3. What stands out is that we might expect logs in Sweden to be more expensive than in Estonia because of the relative difference in national living standards, but that is not the case.

In the December Quarter, the other recorded average prices were:

  • Finland ~ USD61.67/m3
  • Lithuania ~ USD58.76/m3
  • Norway ~ USD52.88/m3

The chart below shows the movements in US Southern Sawlog prices to the December Quarter 2016. This data includes a mix of softwood and hardwood species, but we will retain our focus on the pine.


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.

It is hard to go past the US South for pricing stability for logs, especially for the Southwide Pine price, which at USD46.57/m3 in the December Quarter, was continuing its trend downwards, being 3.0% lower than in the December Quarter of 2015. However, that decline has been largely symmetrical over the year, distributed equally between the quarters. We might not predict a further decline in March Quarter 2017, but we ought not be surprised if it eventuates.

What the data demonstrates is that much of the log pricing is very specific to locale. These are not, like Australia’s log export prices, particularly focussed on exports. Most of the pricing shows local conditions, circumstances and opportunities.