New Zealand lumber exports impacted by strong NZ dollar in January; average unit price for shipments to US drops 15% from year-ago level, price for shipments to Australia drops 32%

, April 4, 2014 () – There was a significant drop in lumber exports from NZ in January. January this year was well below January 2013, but in line with the five year average for January. Lumber exports were well ahead of average for all of 2013. Exports to the growth markets of China and South East Asia were actually above January 2013, but it was the higher value markets of the US and Australia that were down year-on-year.

The average unit price for lumber exported to Australia was down 32% year-on-year, which has been driven to some extent by the NZD rising 17% against that currency from January 2013 to January 2014. The NZ dollar has continued to strengthen since January, and this is clearly having a major impact on NZ’s lumber exports. Lumber exports to Australia were valued at NZ$130 million for 2013, making up 19.56% of NZ’s exports by value.

Average unit price for lumber exported to the US were down 15% year-on-year for January, but there is more optimism for this market. The US lumber markets were elevated during the start of 2013 due to a bright run for the US housing construction, but fell sharply due to over production in anticipation of higher demand. Construction there is still recovering but lumber markets are now making more steady incremental increases.


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