16 Nov 2011

Log exports more than double volume in three years

1:27 pm on 16 November 2011

New Zealand log exports are heading for another record year.

During the first eight months of 2011, log shipments were 25% higher than the same period last year and more than 50% higher by value.

The forest industry says total timber exports for the year may reach 13 million cubic metres, more than doubling what was shipped three years ago.

The increase in the log trade is driven by demand from China, which is taking almost a third of New Zealand's timber harvest.

Forest Owners Association senior policy analyst Glen Mackie says the trade to China has tightened up recently but that won't prevent a new log export record.

In contrast to log exports, sawn timber exports have declined from last year.

Mr Mackie says processors are finding it difficult to compete with the increased log prices and also with other countries exporting to China, such as Canada and the United States.