Coronavirus outbreak in China snuffs out NZ forestry recovery

By: Jamie Gray
Business reporter, NZ Herald    @JamieGrayNZ


Late last year, New Zealand log prices in China were improving, restoring a little confidence to the sector.

But the virus outbreak has again seen logs start to pile up on Chinese wharves as economic activity looks certain to slow in response to the outbreak, which has killed at least 426 people.

A sudden increase in imports from Europe saw “A” grade log prices slump to US$105 per JAS metre last July after hitting a record US$140/metre a year earlier, thereby ending a five-year strengthening trend.

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Today, with so many players absent from the market, it’s difficult to even establish a price.

“There is a lot of uncertainty as to where things are going,” ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby said.

“Prices are definitely heading south, but to actually quantify that is pretty difficult at the moment,” she said.

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