23 Apr 2013

Log prices up on Chinese and US demand

6:33 am on 23 April 2013

Log prices are at their highest in nearly two years, driven by demand from sawmills in both the United States and in China.

NZX Agrifax primary industry analyst Ivan Luketina said this demand has pushed up log prices by 5% on average in the past month.

He said there has been a $6 - $7 per tonne rise in log prices in China, although this had been slightly reduced for New Zealand returns due to an increase in shipping costs and the rise in the New Zealand dollar.

"Prices are continuing upwards based on the stronger data on housing in the US which has been driving up lumber prices, this is causing many sawmills in the US to increase production in anticipation of a rapid rise in demand for timber."

Mr Luketina said sawmills in China are increasing imports to secure volume which is lifting import prices, although it has not flowed through to China's domestic market which means prices may not continue to rise at the same pace.

He said New Zealand domestic log prices have risen to match the strong prices for export logs.