Log export value rises 41.1% to AUD441.4M

Australia’s log exports were valued at AUD441.4M for the year-ended June 2016, up a very large 41.1% on the prior year. After woodchips, logs are the second-highest value wood product exports from Australia, with their growth being continuous since they bottomed in mid-2012. Monthly exports peaked in May 2016, valued at AUD50.8M.

Log exports have been trending up, as the chart below shows.


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

In June 2016, the value of log exports was AUD41.0M. While this was below the record set the prior month, it is, as the chart shows, the fourth highest month on record. It seems there is little likelihood of an abatement of exports in the near future.

Unsurprisingly, softwood logs dominate exports and have dominated the growth of the last year. Their value rose 34.5% to AUD366.2M, accounting for 83.0% of the value of total exports. By contrast, fast-growing exports of hardwood logs more than doubled (+101.0%) to be valued at AUD69.6M for the year-ended June 2016. They accounted for 15.8% of total exports by value.

There is often discussion about Australia’s log exports and whether they detract from value-adding potential in the local market. There are different views and we are not going to engage in the debate. But what we can say is that the data shows clearly that to export logs, you have to have a buyer.

It will come as no shock, but the big buyer of Australia’s softwood logs remains China. In 2015-16, it received logs valued at AUD345.5M, up 40.7% on the prior year. The only other significant recipient nation, Korea, saw imports rise 9.7% to AUD19.3M for the year.

The situation is just as clear for hardwood log exports, which have grown dramatically over the last year, as the chart below shows.


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

Although other countries receive supplies of Australia’s hardwood logs, China is very much the dominant recipient. In 2015-16, it received AUD51.3M of hardwood logs, up a whopping 106.9% on the previous year. By contrast, the value of exports to Taiwan fell 27.3% to AUD0.8M over the same period.

Supported by a mainly lower Australian Dollar and by strong demand in the Middle Kingdom, Australia’s log exports have grown strongly. Whether that continues is a question of significant interest.