Woodchip Exports Up 2.7% YE January

Australia’s woodchip and pellet exports totalled 7.389 million bone dry metric tonnes (bdmt) for the year-ended January 2018, up 2.7% on the year prior. The small quantity of wood pellets and other fuel wood accounted for just 3.5% of that total, which was otherwise dominated by hardwood chip exports totalling 6.460 million bdmt, up 2.0% on the prior year.

As the chart below observes, it may be that Australia’s woodchip exports volumes are close to their capacity, and may in fact have peaked, on an annualized basis, at the end of December 2017.

fig 28

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

A sign of the times, massive woodchip exports are driven by demand for paper products, including copy paper and tissue products, but also by an ever expanding group of fibre products that are headlined by viscose pulp for cloth manufacture and fluff pulp for use in babies diapers.

Global demand at times seems endless, while supply seems to be increasingly tight, feeding into higher prices and challenges in assuring supply.

The value of Australia’s woodchip exports for the year-ended January 2018 was AUD1.282 billion, with hardwood chips accounting for a dominant 89.3% or AUD1.145 billion. The chart below shows the dominance of hardwood chips (AHECC code 4401.22.99) by value, very similar to their dominance by volume.

fig 29

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

The price of Australia’s raw wood exports has been rising over much of the last year, in line with international roundwood prices, as this edition of Statistics Count analyses. Latest reported prices appear to be at least 10% higher than those in play a year ago, which will be reflected in the value of Australia’s woodchip exports rising further, later in the year.

This is little surprise given the strength of demand and the observable constraints on the volume of material available for export. Coupled with a not unhelpful exchange rate, good export conditions appear set to continue deep into 2018.