Log export takes fall

Business, Main Stories

A SHARP fall in log production due to unfavourable wet conditions during the first quarter of this year took a big toll on Papua New Guinea’s export receipts from the commodity.
A 3.4% increase in export prices was not even enough to offset a 71.6% drop in export receipts to K45.2 million during the period in review, according to figures released by the PNG Forest Industry Association (PNGFIA).
The association said the volume of logs exported during the first three months of this year was 213,000 cubic metres, down 73.9% from the previous year, same period.
The volume of lost export represented almost the same volume lost in production, PNGFIA noted.
The lower export result was attributed mainly to lower production in some of the major logging areas affected by unfavourable wet conditions.
PNGFIA data also revealed that the average export price of logs was K212 per cubic metre during the quarter, up 8.7% from the same period last year.
The price increase was attributed to higher international prices for tropical hardwoods especially from China.
“Lower international prices of minerals and most agricultural exports resulted in a 29.7% decline in the weighted average price of PNG’s exports in the March quarter of 2009, compared to the corresponding quarter of 2008.
 “There was a 31.9% decline in the weighted average price of mineral exports, with lower kina prices of all mineral products,” PNGFIA noted.
For the agriculture, forestry and marine products exports, the weighted average price declined by 13.3% due to lower kina prices of coffee, copra, copra oil, palm oil, rubber and marine exports.