Softwood log exports close in on 400,000 m3/month mark as price strength continues

For the second time in three months, Australia’s exports of softwood logs hit 389,000 m3 in February, falling just 500 m3 below the record set in December 2016. On a year-end basis, the records continue to tumble, with exports totaling 3,759,600 m3 in the year-ended February 2017, up an extremely strong 26.8% on the prior year. To place the full year growth into context, exports were more than 800,000 m3 higher than in the prior year.

The chart below, supplied by IndustryEdge, shows both softwood and hardwood log exports, so that the sheer magnitude of the softwood log exports is clear.

fig 03

Softwood log export prices continue to be incredibly strong, at least in Australian Dollar terms. The average price in February 2017 was AUDFob132.89/m3, the second highest monthly average price on record. 

The total value of the trade for the month was therefore AUDFob51,725,971. On an annualized basis, that means Australia’s softwood log exports are valued – on an Fob basis – at approximately AUD600 million.

Turning to hardwood logs, in February, exports totaled 49,148 m3, however the average price slumped to AUDFob100.46/m3.