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Overseas Merchandise Trade: June 2012
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  25 July 2012
Commentary

Overview – seasonally adjusted exports and imports fall

In the June 2012 quarter, the seasonally adjusted value of exported goods decreased 1.6 percent ($182 million) to $11.3 billion. The decrease was led by a fall in the value of milk powder, butter, and cheese.

Imported goods fell 1.9 percent ($226 million) to $11.9 billion. The decrease was led by crude oil, while petrol and avgas, and passenger motor cars increased.

The trend for exports has decreased in the latest three quarters. The trend for imports has been steadily increasing since the recent low in the September 2009 quarter. However, it is still below its overall peak, which was in the September 2008 quarter.

There was a trade deficit of $664 million (5.9 percent of exports) in the June 2012 quarter. 

Seasonally adjusted exports decrease 1.6 percent in June 2012 quarter

The seasonally adjusted value of exported goods decreased 1.6 percent ($182 million) to $11.3 billion in the June 2012 quarter. This followed a 5.9 percent fall in the March 2012 quarter.

The trend for goods exported, which reflects the long-term behaviour in export values, has decreased in the latest three quarters from its record high. This follows a sustained period of increase since the September 2009 quarter.

Graph, Merchandise export values, quarterly, June 2006 to June 2012.

Decrease in milk powder, butter, and cheese leads fall in seasonally adjusted exports

Milk powder, butter, and cheese (New Zealand’s largest export commodity) led the fall in seasonally adjusted exports in the June 2012 quarter, down 5.7 percent ($164 million). This followed a 6.8 percent fall in the March 2012 quarter. Quantities for the June 2012 quarter fell 5.7 percent.

Graph, Milk powder, butter, and cheese exports, quarterly values and quantities, seasonally adjusted, June 2006 to June 2012.

Other key changes in commodity export values

By commodity group, the value of exports in the June 2012 quarter, compared with the March 2012 quarter, also fell for: 

  • fish, crustaceans, and molluscs, down 6.2 percent ($23 million), with quantities down 13 percent
  • wool, down 11 percent ($22 million), with quantities also down 2.5 percent
  • meat and edible offal (New Zealand’s second largest export commodity), down 1.5 percent ($19 million), although quantities were up 2.5 percent.

By commodity group, the value of exports rose for:

  • casein and caseinates, up 32 percent ($62 million)
  • fruit, up 14 percent ($48 million), with quantities up 15 percent
  • logs, wood, and wood articles, up 3.4 percent ($25 million), with quantities up 11 percent.

Seasonally adjusted imports decrease 1.9 percent in June 2012 quarter

The seasonally adjusted value of imported goods decreased 1.9 percent ($226 million) to $11.9 billion in the June 2012 quarter. This decrease followed a 2.3 percent ($270 million) increase in the March 2012 quarter.

The trend for imports has increased 25 percent from the September 2009 quarter, the most recent low point. The level of the trend is now 2.6 percent below its overall peak, which was in the September 2008 quarter.

Graph, Merchandise import values, quarterly, June 2006 to June 2012.

Intermediate goods lead decrease in seasonally adjusted imports

Of the three main broad economic categories, intermediate goods decreased in value in the June 2012 quarter while consumption goods and capital goods increased.

Graph, Imports by broad economic category, quarterly values, seasonally adjusted, June 2006 to June 2012.

Intermediate goods decreased 11 percent ($620 million) following an increase of 5.0 percent ($277 million) in the March 2012 quarter. The decrease was mainly due to crude oil, down 30 percent ($497 million). Crude oil is not seasonally adjusted. Excluding crude oil, total intermediate goods fell 3.5 percent in the current quarter.

Consumption goods increased 3.2 percent ($89 million) in the June 2012 quarter. The value of consumption goods has been mainly increasing since the December 2009 quarter.

Capital goods increased 1.6 percent ($35 million). Machinery and plant rose 13 percent ($213 million) and was almost offset by transport equipment, down 37 percent ($178 million).

In other categories of goods, values increased as follows in the June 2012 quarter:

  • Passenger motor cars increased 14 percent ($112 million), and the trend has increased since the June 2011 quarter. This category reached its highest value since the series began in 1993.
  • Petrol and avgas, which is not seasonally adjusted, increased 65 percent ($228 million), reaching its highest value since the series began in 1988. Irregular shipments of these commodities can cause large percentage fluctuations in the series.

Seasonally adjusted trade deficit in June 2012 quarter

In the June 2012 quarter, there was a seasonally adjusted trade deficit of $664 million, equivalent to 5.9 percent of exports. This follows a trade deficit of $708 million (6.2 percent of exports) in the March 2012 quarter.

Graph, Merchandise trade balance, quarterly, June 2006 to June 2012.

Exports rise 6.2 percent in June month

In the June 2012 month, merchandise exports were valued at $4.2 billion, up $244 million (6.2 percent) from June 2011.

Milk powder, butter, and cheese leads rise in exports

Milk powder, butter, and cheese exports rose $88 million (9.9 percent) to $979 million. This increase was led by unsweetened whole milk powder, up $96 million (26 percent), and natural milk constituents, up $29 million (66 percent). The rise was partly offset by skimmed milk powder, down $33 million (25 percent).

Graph, Milk powder, butter, and cheese exports, monthly values and quantities, June 2006 to June 2012.

Other key changes in commodity export values

By commodity group, the value of exports in June 2012, compared with June 2011, rose for:

  • logs, wood, and wood articles, up $62 million (25 percent), driven by an increase in pinus radiata logs
  • fruit, up $33 million (16 percent), led by gold kiwifruit.

Aircraft and parts showed the largest decrease, down $65 million (91 percent). This decrease occurred because of the re-export of large aircraft in June 2011, with none recorded in June 2012.

Meat and edible offal fell $2.5 million (0.5 percent). Frozen lamb cuts with bone in fell $25 million (17 percent). Frozen beef rose $20 million (11 percent).  

Exports to China show largest increase

In June 2012, the value of exports to the following countries rose:

  • China rose $220 million (58 percent). The increase was led by pinus radiata logs, which doubled in value, and whole milk powder.
  • Japan rose $68 million (25 percent), led by kiwifruit.
  • The United Arab Emirates rose $34 million (73 percent), mainly due to an increase in whole milk powder.
  • Korea rose $24 million(17 percent), over a range of commodities.

Australia showed the largest decrease, down $30 million (3.5 percent). Unwrought silver fell $15 million, unwrought gold fell $11 million, and cheese fell $9.3 million. Crude oil rose $17 million.

Monthly export commodity trends are mixed 

The trend for exports of milk powder, butter, and cheese has been declining from the record high of November 2011. The June 2012 month was excluded from the trend calculation because it was unusually large. Exports of this commodity group in June 2012 were 31 percent higher than the average of the previous three June months.

The trend for meat and edible offal appears to be increasing from February 2012, but more observation is required. The trend for logs, wood, and wood articles has been declining since March 2011.

Graph, Indexed export trend values by leading commodity groupings, monthly, June 2006 to June 2012.

Imports rise 3.0 percent in June month

In the June 2012 month, imported goods were valued at $3.9 billion, up $114 million (3.0 percent) from June 2011.

Vehicles, parts, and accessories rises 44 percent

The value of vehicles, parts, and accessories rose $146 million (44 percent) in June 2012 compared with June 2011. This was due to increases in new diesel motor cars with engine capacity exceeding 1500cc, and new petrol motor cars with engine capacity exceeding 1500cc.

Other key changes in commodity import values:

  • Mechanical machinery and equipment rose $89 million, led by steam turbines, and portable computers.
  • Petroleum and products fell $53 million, led by crude oil. This was partly offset by increases in motor spirit and diesel.

Crude oil dominates country of origin changes

Import shipments of crude oil tend to fluctuate by country of origin, which causes large changes in quantities and values. The value of imports from the following countries was influenced by crude oil in June 2012, compared with June 2011:

  • Oman rose $186 million, Brunei rose $76 million, and Saudi Arabia rose $43 million.
  • Qatar fell $225 million, Russia fell $105 million, and United Arab Emirates fell $62 million.

The value of imports from the following countries rose in June 2012, compared with June 2011:

  • Japan rose $140 million, led by higher imports of motor spirit, and steam turbines.
  • Thailand rose $44 million, led by an increase in the value of new diesel motor cars with engine capacity exceeding 2500cc.
  • Korea rose $41 million, led by motor spirit.
  • China rose $41 million, led by mechanical machinery and equipment, and electrical machinery and equipment. Partly offsetting these increases was a decrease in railway stock and signalling equipment.

June 2012 trade balance in surplus

In the June 2012 month, there was a trade surplus of $331 million (7.9 percent of exports). This compares with an average deficit of 4.8 percent of exports over the previous five June months.Graph, Merchandise trade balance, monthly, June 2006 to June 2012.

Key movements for the year ended June 2012

In the year ended June 2012, merchandise exports were valued at $46.7 billion, up $611 million (1.3 percent) from the year ended June 2011.

The value of merchandise imports in the year ended June 2012 was $47.4 billion, up $2.4 billion (5.2 percent) from the year ended June 2011.

For the June 2012 year, there was an annual trade deficit of $747 million (1.6 percent of exports). This compares with an average deficit of 6.5 percent of exports over the previous five June years, although there were surpluses in the June 2010 and June 2011 years.

Milk powder, butter and cheese leads the rise in exports

The following commodity groups had the largest movements in the value of exports for the year to June 2012:

  • Milk powder, butter, and cheese rose $294 million (2.6 percent). Natural milk constituents rose $110 million, whole milk powder rose $84 million, and cheese rose $64 million. Partly offsetting those increases were falls for butter, down $65 million, and anhydrous milk fat, down $33 million.
  • Petroleum and products other than crude oil rose $159 million (92 percent).
  • Meat and edible offal fell $276 million (5.1 percent). Sheep meat fell $272 million.

The value of exports to the following countries had the largest movements:

  • China rose $488 million (8.7 percent). The increase was spread across a variety of commodity groups, lead by meat and edible offal.
  • The United States rose $157 million (4.0 percent), led by increases in casein and caseinates, up $63 million, anhydrous milk fat, up $44 million, and natural milk constituents, up $43 million.
  • Mexico had the largest decrease in exports, down $137 million (32 percent). The decrease was due to falls in whole milk powder, down $69 million, skimmed milk powder, down $30 million, and anhydrous milk fat, down $25 million.

Petroleum and products records the largest increase in imports

The following commodity groups had the largest movements in the value of imports in the year to June 2012:

  • Petroleum and products had the largest increase, up $1.1 billion (15 percent). This was mainly due to a rise in imports of crude oil, up $887 million.
  • Vehicles, parts, and accessories had the next-largest increase, up $612 million (14 percent). This increase was led by new petrol cars with engine capacity of 1500–3000cc (up $178 million).
  • Aircraft and parts were the largest offsetting decrease, down $337 million (23 percent).

The value of imports from the following countries had the largest movements:

  • Oman had the largest increase, up $780 million (398 percent). The increase was due to a rise in crude oil imported.
  • China had the second-largest increase, up $558 million (7.8 percent), led by increases in mechanical machinery and equipment, and electrical machinery and equipment.
  • The United States of America contributed the largest decrease in imports, down $360 million (7.1 percent). The decrease was mainly due to aircraft and parts, down $585 million. Partly offsetting this decrease was a rise in mechanical machinery and equipment, up $156 million.

Exchange rate movements

According to the Reserve Bank’s trade weighted index (TWI), the New Zealand dollar was 1.1 percent higher in June 2012 than in May 2012, and 0.7 percent higher than in June 2011.

The TWI fell 1.7 percent in the June 2012 quarter, compared with the March 2012 quarter. The TWI was 3.2 percent higher in the June 2012 quarter than it was in the same quarter in 2011.

Graph, Trade weighted index, monthly, June 2006 to June 2012.

For more detailed data, see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box.

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