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Australia Supplied Just 11% of China’s Softwood Logs in September Quarter

December 09, 2020
Author: Tim Woods

Recent trade developments have seen logs from some Australian states be banned from import to China. Despite being very significant for Australia, considered from the perspective of mainland China’s total imports, the Australian supply is not as compelling as some may think. In the September quarter, Australia’s softwood logs accounted for just 11.3% of China’s total imports.

As this visualization from our Wood Market Edge online platform shows, in the September quarter, Australia’s 1.267 million cubic meters (m3) of softwood log imports to China was a solid contribution, but was less than the market leader – New Zealand – and third behind Germany.

Australia log exports to China

The contrast with New Zealand is worth examining further. In the September quarter, imports to mainland China from New Zealand accounted for 33.6% of total imports – 3.756 million m3. This is observable in the chart below.

New Zealand log exports to China

It might be argued that while mainland China may be able to do without Australian softwood logs, it would find it more difficult to replace those from New Zealand.

Using IndustryEdge’s Wood Market Edge online, subscribers are able to select specific country, product and data ranges, allowing them to drill into details that provide rapid insights into ever-changing and challenging trade situations. Data and charts are available for download on the platform, part of Forest2Market’s world leading SilvaStat360 forestry and wood products data visualization platform.

From the local perspective, Australia is a significant exporter of softwood logs – almost all of which have been destined for mainland China over the last decade. The latest developments demonstrate that alternatives, including increased domestic processing, would be in the national interest.

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