NZ: Log Prices Lift Despite lower China Demand

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New Zealand export log prices have lifted for the third month, as a weaker kiwi boosted local currency returns.

The average wharf gate price for New Zealand A-grade logs rose to $95.7 a tonne, from $87.6 a tonne in September, according to Agrifax’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and sawmills.

New Zealand returns are being bolstered by a drop in the value of the New Zealand dollar, which has fallen almost 10 per cent from its peak of 88.35 US cents in July.

Meantime import prices in China, the largest market for New Zealand logs, are little changed as inventory levels in Asia’s largest economy remain high amid a weak housing market.

“With the New Zealand dollar coming back so far against the US dollar, that’s meant there’s been a big increase in wharf gate prices, boosting the New Zealand dollar returns,” said Agrifax forestry analyst Ivan Luketina.

The Chinese price for logs has “barely moved” in the past month, Mr Luketina said.

“There’s slightly lower confidence in the log market there because the construction industry hasn’t really shown any sign of recovering. There is only very slight declines in inventory.”

Wood is New Zealand’s third-largest commodity export.

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