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While most industry insiders were expecting flat or slightly export prices for May, New Zealand log export prices rose at around $10/JAS above April levels. This raises the price of NZ A grade logs to $160’s/JAS which is the highest since the extremely short price spike of ’93.

The reason is not just low shipping costs or foreign exchange rates, it’s purely a supply and demand imbalance situation caused by strong demand in China and poor supply from other regions.

New Zealand log exporters had a record supply month in March with over 2 million cubic metres exported to China and April/May are looking similar.

Nothing has changed with the Australia/China situation as logs are still banned from being imported into China, in fact, there appears to be a deepening rift as all sorts of accusations are getting thrown around from both sides.

European log exports are dragged down by container freight cost increases and lack of available containers so it’s very unlikely we’ll see any significant supply increases from Europe.

The European lumber exports to China (which complete with logs) are also significantly down as supply is diverted to the US to cope with the housing boom created by US Govt stimulus packages.

China is entering its hot season which generally sees demand reduce by 15-20%, however as NZ enters winter, we should see supply levels reduce therefore the overall balance is likely to be maintained.

Current inventory in China continues to recede with most commentators putting levels at 3.8Mm3 and demand at 80Km3 per day.

The post China: Imbalance between strong demand, poor supply favors New Zealand log exporters appeared first on Timber Industry News.