Wood product markets

Data on forestry imports and exports and indicative log prices

Quick facts

For the year ended June 2018

  • Total exports of forestry products from New Zealand for the year were $6.4 billion.
  • Of total forestry exports, 48% went to China.
  • The value of sawn timber exports reached $891 million.


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Annual exports

Annual forestry export statistics covering the volume and value of logs and wood chips, sawn timber and sleepers, wood pulp, paper and paperboard, panel products, and other forestry products exported from New Zealand.

Exports by forestry product

Exports by forestry product and country of destination

Annual imports

Annual forestry imports statistics covering the volume and value of timber, wood pulp, paper and paperboard, panel products, and other forestry products imported into New Zealand.

Imports by forestry product

Imports by forestry product and country of origin

Quarterly trade

Quarterly forestry statistics covering the volume and value of logs and wood chips, sawn timber and sleepers, wood pulp, paper and paperboard, panel products, and other forestry products imported to, and exported from, New Zealand.


Change to HS code groupings

As part of an effort to standardise the forestry data we provide on this website, the December 2017 quarterly trade data has been updated to reflect the HS (Harmonised System) code groupings used in MPI’s SOPI (Situation and outlook for the primary industries) publication. This means that the quarterly trade data has been adjusted in a few categories, making it easier to compare against the other outputs we produce. 

HS code reclassifications
  • 6 HS codes that were classified as 'particleboard' are now classified as 'plywood'.
  • 2 HS codes that were classified as 'chemical pulp' are now classified as 'mechanical and chemical pulp'.

Further details on the HS code classifications are available in the spreadsheet HS code changes for forestry products. Any differences outside of the HS code reclassifications may be due to minor revisions in the trade data.

Indicative New Zealand radiata pine log prices

March 2021 quarter and weighted average

Note: Weighted averages have been used from June 2017. Take care when comparing them with previous quarters.

Generic log type and pricing point March 2021 quarter Weighted average
Export (NZ$ per JAS m3 FOB)    
Pruned 170 - 223 194
Unpruned A Grade 150 - 178 166
Unpruned K Grade 141 - 166 156
Pulp 128 - 151 140
Domestic (NZ$ per tonne delivered at mill)    
P1 165 - 194 180
P2 130 - 197 182
S1 132 - 140 138
S2 117 - 134 129
L1 and L2 83 - 126 118
S3 and L3 99 - 120 116
Pulp 28.08 - 65 53

How the survey is compiled

These log prices are historical and indicative only and may not correspond to actual prices paid, or grades used, in market transactions. A 'best fit' is applied by survey respondents to align company log grade specification with the generic specifications. Direct comparisons with actual market prices may not apply due to differences between the specification sets. The prices are subject to change when further data becomes available. The sources for this information are MPI's industry contacts.

The log price collection process

MPI collects log prices to analyse trends rather than for marketing purposes, so it does not collect spot prices, day-to-day prices, or one-off sale prices. All data published are historical, usually on a monthly or quarterly basis.

MPI uses 3 sources for radiata pine log prices:

    1. Surveys of a selection of major New Zealand log suppliers for indicative domestic and export log prices. These are published quarterly on this website.
    2. The Japan lumber report for A and J grade export prices.
    3. An Overseas Trade Price Index for Exports of Logs, Poles and Sawn Timber based on exporter declarations, published quarterly on this website.

Export log grades are typically measured in Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) cubic metres. JAS measures logs according to prescribed formulas. Domestic logs are typically measured in cubic metres or tonnes. Conversion factors between all 3 measurements vary owing to a number of variables including wood age, log size, and taper, but are mostly within 90% of a 1:1 relationship. Conversion factors are assumed to be 1:1 on this website.

Log prices can be quoted at a number of different pricing points, like 'cost insurance freight' (or CIF – landed at an importing port), 'free on board' (or FOB – loaded onto a ship at an export port), wharf gate, on truck, and at stump. Export margins charged by New Zealand's log buyers can range from 4% to 15% of a landed price at wharf.

Log prices can vary depending on exchange rates, log measurement methods, and log grade specifications. Log grades have also changed over time. Some industry commentators say log size has decreased within grades (both in small end diameter and length) but log quality is perceived to be increasing (particularly clearwood depth in pruned logs). Keep these factors in mind when comparing these log prices. Prices should be based on a common pricing point.

Log grade and prices

A number of log grades have been selected to represent the overall log market. For the export market these are pruned (to Japan and Korea), A (Japan), J (Japan), K (Korea), and pulp grades. For the domestic market these are pruned (P1, P2), unpruned (S1, S2, L1 and L2, S3 and L3), pulp (as defined by Scion Research), and run-of-bush (a mixture of grades, generally unpruned).

Log grade specifications can vary significantly between suppliers, even within a particular grade. For example, K-grade log specifications may vary in length, small end diameter and allowable knot size. This especially applies to domestic grades, where the Scion Research log grades used by MPI have not been universally adopted by the industry.

To help overcome the situation, MPI relies on industry sources to provide log prices to the nearest log grade equivalent and to identify any significant changes to log specifications.

Prices in the Japanese market are generally set quarterly, Korean prices are commonly set shipment by shipment, and other export markets vary. There is no standard time frame for reviewing domestic prices, which tend to fluctuate depending on sale agreements. MPI only records average log prices from its industry contacts on a quarterly basis.

Export prices are usually provided by industry sources in United States dollars, which MPI converts to New Zealand dollars using a quarterly exchange rate. MPI uses FOB as the pricing point for export prices, while the domestic pricing point is 'landed' or 'delivered' at mill. This means MPI has to make some assumptions about costs if the log prices provided by the industry are to another pricing point. All data is destroyed once it has been aggregated and averaged, to retain confidentiality.

Where possible, the quarterly figures encompass a range of log prices for each grade, rather than a single figure. This reflects the range of prices associated with each grade and helps preserve the anonymity of individual company data. MPI uses a mid-range price to analyse these data. While a volume-weighted average price based on each company's production would give a better measurement of actual prices, volume data are not readily available.

MPI's quarterly log prices now feature the 12-quarter median price series. These prices are derived using the median prices of each log grade, averaged over the last 12 quarters. This price series tends to buffer the effects of any extreme spikes of troughs, which can occur from time to time and tend to distort trends in the short term. 

Availability of log price information

MPI's log price information is available from a number of sources. Radiata pine log prices are published quarterly on this website. The data is also available on Scion Research's Woodwide database. A and J grade prices are available free from MPI and the Overseas Trade Price Index is available through MPI's Statistical Releases by quarterly subscription.

Thank you

MPI acknowledges the assistance of the forestry and sawmilling companies in preparing and supplying radiata pine log prices.

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