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Financial News: New Zealand Has NZ$640 Million Trade Surplus In

New Zealand Has NZ$640 Million Trade Surplus In December

01/29/2018 - 19:15:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - New Zealand posted a merchandise trade surplus of NZ$640 million in December, Statistics New Zealand said on Tuesday - representing 12 percent of exports.

The headline figure beat expectations for a deficit of NZ$125 million following the NZ$1.233 billion shortfall in November.

Exports surged an annual 26 percent to a record NZ$5.55 billion in December - surpassing expectations for NZ$5.00 billion and up from NZ$4.63 billion in the previous month.

"Record export values of dairy products drove total exports to their highest-ever monthly value," international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. "The previous highest values for both dairy exports and total exports were recorded in the 2013-14 dairy export season, when dairy prices were at a high level."

The export values of dairy products increased by NZ$445 million (30 percent) from December 2016, reaching NZ$1.9 billion. The leading contributors to the increase were milk powder (up NZ$233 million) and butter (up NZ$137 million).

Meat and edible offal exports were up NZ$229 million (47 percent), and forestry products were up NZ$94 million (27 percent).

The largest increase in exports amongst trading partners was to China, up NZ$343 million (28 percent), led by dairy products (up NZ$230 million).

Imports climbed 11 percent on year to NZ$4.91 billion versus forecasts for NZ$5.10 billion and down from NZ$5.84 billion a month earlier.

The largest rise in import values was in mechanical machinery and equipment (such as aircraft parts), up NZ$141 million (21 percent) from December 2016.

For all of 2017, there was an annual trade deficit of NZ$2.8 billion (5.3 percent of exports). This was smaller than the NZ$3.1 billion deficit (6.5 percent of exports) in 2016.

"The previous high for the value of goods exports in a calendar year was 2014," Islam said. "The previous high for imports was 2015."

Annual exports were valued at NZ$53.7 billion for the year, up NZ$5.2 billion (11 percent) from 2016.

Dairy products led the rise, up NZ$2.8 billion to NZ$14.0 billion. Meat rose NZ$706 million to NZ$6.6 billion. Logs, wood, and wood articles rose NZ$546 million to NZ$4.7 billion.

Imports for the year were up NZ$4.9 billion, to NZ$56.5 billion. Mechanical machinery and equipment (such as aircraft parts and computers) rose NZ$1.3 billion to NZ$8.2 billion. Vehicles, parts, and accessories (mainly cars, trucks, and vans) rose NZ$1.2 billion to NZ$8.9 billion.

China was the top trading partner in 2017. Exports to China were valued at NZ$12.0 billion (22 percent of New Zealand's total exports) while imports from China were valued at NZ$10.9 billion (19 percent of New Zealand's total imports).

"China overtook Australia as our top export market in 2013 and has remained at the top every calendar year since," Islam said. "The gap between the top two markets is now wider than it's been at any time since then."

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