Australia & NZ Log Export Prices: Six-Year Low Amid Slowdown

Latest IndustryEdge Market Edge report looks at Trans-Tasman softwood and hardwood log export volumes and prices.

Wed 30 Aug 23


Australia and New Zealand’s export log prices fell 17.5% in June 2023, with IndustryEdge’s Wood Market Edge reporting that prices are now 28.2% lower than the index starting point in January 2017.

IndustryEdge reports that the weighted average New Zealand price fell 13.3% for the month, whilst the Australian index dropped slightly (0.2%) in the softening market.

Where New Zealand has suffered from a deteriorating Chinese market, 98% of Australian logs are now exported to India – albeit price-sensitive, a much more stable market.

That figure is up from 95% in May and 92% in April, with the latest report coinciding with New Zealand’s largest-ever trade delegation to India. 

Last week, Wood Central reported that forest products were identified as one of seven priority areas by the Indian government before the delegation left for India.

“For all that export volumes spiked in April and May, the price was the victim,” IndustryEdge said earlier this month.

“Trade to China may not always have been satisfactory, but the occasional slumps in export prices to India are also nothing to write home about.” 

IndustryEdge’s Australian and New Zealand Log Price Index: Jan ’21 – June ’23 (INDEX). Source: ABS, Statistics NZ, RBA, RBNZ and IndustryEdge

New Zealand Export Data

New Zealand is among China’s largest import markets for logs, with more than 55% of New Zealand’s export market going through China.

IndustryEdge reports that the total exports for the 2022/23 financial year were 20.890 million cubic metres, with an average export price of NZDFob163.10/m3. 

New Zealand Softwood Log Exports by Size: Jan ’21 – Jun ‘23 (‘000 m3 and NZDFob/m3). Source: Statistics NZ and IndustryEdge.

The weighted average price was 2.1% lower for the year than the prior year but has deteriorated for the last four months.

However, IndustryEdge reported that “a new symmetry has been reached with New Zealand softwood log export prices.” 

Since the end of 2022, the weighted average price for softwood log exports has been largely the same, regardless of dimension.

IndustryEdge has provided a full breakdown of the month-to-month pricing by dimension size on its website.

Australian Export Data

IndustryEdge reports that Australian softwood log exports for June were 121,900 cubic metres with a weighted price of AUDFob129.92/m3 – albeit with May exports revised downward after adjustment.

Australian Softwood Log Exports by Country: Jan ’17 – Jun ‘23 (m3). Source: ABS and IndustryEdge

It reports that Australia’s log export prices have been highly volatile, partly due to “small than normal trade and one in which there are market and global economic challenges.”

Underscoring price challenges, IndustryEdge reports that “the lowest monthly price was recorded in February 2023 (AUDFob114/m3) and the highest just one month later at AUDFob177/m3).”

Australian Softwood Log Exports by Country: Jul ’22 – Jun ‘23 (m3). Source: ABS and IndustryEdge

Over the year to June 2023, Australia’s total exports of softwood logs were 35% lower than the prior year, totalling just 0.465 million cubic metres.

For export, softwood logs are differentiated as larger or smaller than 15 cm in diameter.

Australian Softwood Log Exports by Size: Jan ’21 – Jun ‘23 (‘000 m3 and AUDFob/m3). Source: ABS and IndustryEdge

Larger logs dominate Australia’s exports, following a shift away from smaller diameter (<15 cm) logs in 2021. 

Over the year ended June 2023, exports of the smaller logs totalled 0.047 million m3 or 10.1% of the total, while shipments of larger logs totalled 0.419 million m3 (89.9%).

“Differentiation of exports based on their diameter also allows for some price analysis,” according to the media release from IndustryEdge.

Export prices for the smaller-sized logs have remained stable, moving through a narrow range, while the average price of the larger-diameter logs has fluctuated.

“In June, exports of the smaller logs were recorded at AUDFob106.77/m3, and the larger diameter logs were recorded at AUDFob136.24/m3.”

Hardwood Exports

Malaysia remains Australia’s major hardwood log export market. 

Examined on a full-year basis, across the year to June 2023, hardwood log exports were down 24.6%, totalling 281,037 cubic metres.

IndustryEdge has provided a full breakdown of the state-based exports on its website.

Across the year ended June 2023, exports from Tasmania dominated, accounting for 69% of all Australian exports. 

Invariably, Tasmania ships significant volumes of hardwood logs to Malaysia.

  • This analysis was first published in Wood Market Edge online in August 2023. IndustryEdge provides exclusive analysis and access to market information, publications, and market and product guides. Wood Market Edge online subscribers have 24/7 access to a large and ever-growing library of data series and analytical reports, updated constantly.


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    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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