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Overseas Merchandise Trade: November 2016
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  21 December 2016
Commentary

This commentary refers to trade in goods only.

See Goods and Services Trade by Country: Year ended June 2016 for information on trade in goods and services.

All comparisons are between November 2016 and November 2015, unless otherwise stated.

Exports fall 5.4 percent

In November 2016, goods exports were valued at $3.9 billion, down $219 million (5.4 percent). 

Meat and edible offal leads fall in exports

Meat and edible offal (our second-largest export commodity group) fell $158 million (31 percent) in November 2016.

  • Beef fell $84 million (41 percent), with quantity down 31 percent.
  • Lamb fell $60 million (27 percent), with quantity down 23 percent.

The largest fall in beef exports were to the US, down $55 million (52 percent), and China, down $19 million (46 percent). The largest fall in lamb exports were to the UK, down $29 million (52 percent), and China, down $13 million (28 percent).

Milk powder, butter, and cheese (our largest export commodity group) rose $31 million (2.6 percent) in November 2016. The movements within this commodity group include:

  • butter including milk fats, up $12 million (5.0 percent) in value and down 11 percent in quantity
  • milk powder, up $11 million (1.6 percent) in value and down 6.5 percent in quantity
  • milk and cream, up $6 million (19 percent) in value and up 27 percent in quantity.

The largest rises in butter including milk fats exports were to Russia (up $25 million) and to Mexico (up $11 million).

Logs, wood, and wood articles (our third-largest annual export commodity group) rose $34 million (12 percent) in November 2016. The rise was led by rough wood (logs in their natural felled state), up $36 million (22 percent) with untreated logs up $29 million to $170 million. In November 2016, log exports made up 61 percent of the total export value of the wider logs, wood, and wood articles commodity group.

Fruit (our fourth-largest annual export commodity group) rose $16 million (27 percent) to $74 million in November 2016, with quantity up 31 percent. Kiwifruit was up $6 million (18 percent), led by green kiwifruit up $5.9 million (18 percent).

The top destinations for kiwifruit exports in November were Japan (up $8.7 million to reach $18 million) and Korea (up $1.9 million to reach $1.9 million).

Other key changes in export commodities were:

  • Crude oil up $59 million.
  • Casein and caseinates down $43 million (37 percent), with quantity down 32 percent.
  • Pharmaceuticals down $17 million (36 percent), with quantity down 61 percent.

Exports to EU and US fall, while exports to other top destinations show little change

Of our top export destinations, the EU and the US had falls in value. The monthly movements for our top export destinations (ranked by total annual goods exports) were:

  1. China – showed little change, up $4.2 million (0.5 percent). The largest rise was in logs, wood, and wood articles, up $32 million (26 percent). The largest fall was in meat and edible offal, down $33 million (37 percent).
  2. Australia – showed little change, up $5.3 million (0.7 percent). The largest movement was in crude oil, up $59 million (291 percent). This rise was partly offset by a fall in a range of commodities, including cereal preparations, down $11 million (24 percent).
  3. United States (US) – down $111 million (23 percent), led by a fall in meat and edible offal, down $61 million (45 percent), with beef down $55 million (54 percent).
  4. Union (EU) – down $116 million (32 percent), led by a fall in meat and edible offal, down $51 million (40 percent), with lamb down $43 million (41 percent).
  5. Japan – showed little change, down $0.3 million (0.1 percent). The largest fall was in pharmaceuticals, down $13 million (91 percent). The largest rise was in logs, wood, and wood articles, up $16 million (95 percent).

Imports fall 6.4 percent

In November 2016, imported goods were valued at $4.6 billion, down $310 million (6.4 percent).

Month-on-month comparisons can be significantly affected by high-value goods imports such as aircraft. When we exclude aircraft goods imports from the above calculations, total imports decreased $6.6 million (0.1 percent) to $4.6 billion.

Capital goods lead fall in imports

All the main broad economic categories of intermediate goods, consumption goods and capital goods fell in value in November 2016.

Capital goods fell $326 million (26 percent).

  • Transport equipment was down $285 million (58 percent), due to a fall in aircraft and parts, down $303 million (98 percent). 
  • Machinery and plant (such as mechanical machinery and equipment) was down $42 million (5.3 percent).

Month-on-month comparisons can be significantly affected by high-value goods imports such as aircraft and parts. When we exclude aircraft goods imports from the above calculations, capital goods decreased $23 million (2.4 percent).

Consumption goods fell $34 million (2.6 percent).

  • Semi-durable goods (such as optical, medical equipment) were down $16 million (4.7 percent).
  • Durable goods (such as furniture) were down $19 million (8.0 percent).
  • Non-durable goods (such as chemical products) were down $5.4 million (1.7 percent).

Intermediate goods fell $53 million (2.9 percent).

  • Processed industrial supplies (such as fertilisers) were down $61 million (6.2 percent).
  • Primary industrial supplies (such as cereals and mineral substances) were down $19 million (26 percent).
  • Crude oil was up $52 million (29 percent), with quantity up 51 percent. 

In other categories of goods:

  • passenger motor cars rose $88 million (23 percent)
  • petrol and avgas fell $1.4 million (2.5 percent).

Rises in imports from three of our five top import partners

The monthly movements for November 2016 for our top import partners (ranked by total annual goods imports) were:

  1. China – up $32 million (3.3 percent), led by a rise in ships and boats (up $39 million). This rise was partly offset by a fall in textiles and textile articles, down $11 million (8.5 percent).
  2. EU – down $52 million (6.3 percent), led by falls in mechanical machinery and equipment (down $30 million) and fertilisers (down $16 million). These falls were partly offset by a rise in vehicles, parts, and accessories (up $42 million).
  3. Australia – up $36 million (6.7 percent), led by rises in petroleum and products other than crude oil (up $24 million), and inorganic chemicals (up $12 million). The largest fall was cereals (down $12 million).
  4. USA – down $351 million (46 percent), led by a fall in aircraft and aircraft parts (down $286 million).
  5. Japan – up $31 million (10 percent), led by rises in mineral fuels and oils (up $16 million), and motor vehicles (up $10 million).

CentrePort trade affected by quake

Due to the North Canterbury earthquake on 14 November 2016, Wellington’s CentrePort is only partially operational.

The value of exports through CentrePort was down 57 percent in November 2016 compared with November 2015, and down 47 percent when compared with November 2014. The value of imports was up 20 percent in November 2016 compared with November 2015, but down 25 percent when compared with November 2014.

In November 2016, exports through CentrePort accounted for 1.6 percent of the total value of exports by sea, compared to an average of 2.7 percent for the five previous November months. Imports through CentrePort accounted for 4.0 percent of the total value of imports by sea, compared to an average of 5.3 percent for the five previous November months.

CentrePort report that they are working on opportunities with the shipping lines with geared vessels, and in November had the container ship, MSC Penelope, in at CentrePort while looking at other options.

Further data is available here.  

United Kingdom's component of trade with European Union

Exports to the UK were 33 percent of New Zealand’s total exports to the EU in November 2016.

If the UK and the rest of the EU are regarded separately, the respective movements in exports for November 2016 were:

  • UK – down $42 million (35 percent), led by a fall in lamb (down $29 million).
  • EU (excluding the UK) – down $75 million (31 percent), led by a fall in lamb (down $14 million).

Imports from the UK made up 17 percent of New Zealand's total imports from the EU in November 2016.

The respective movements in imports for November 2016 were:

  • UK – up $2.3 million (1.8 percent). The largest rise was in vehicles, parts, and accessories (up $6.4 million), partly offset by a fall in chemical products (down $2.1 million).
  • EU (excluding the UK) – down $30 million (4.2 percent) due to mechanical machinery and equipment (down $30 million) and rail way (down $18 million). These falls were partly offset by a rise in vehicles, parts and accessories (up $36 million).

Goods trade has deficit in November 2016

In November 2016 there was a goods trade deficit of $705 million (18 percent of exports). In the five November months before 2016, the average monthly deficit was 11 percent of exports.

For the year ended November 2016 there was an annual trade deficit of $3.2 billion. 

Seasonally adjusted exports fall 12 percent

The seasonally adjusted value of exported goods in November 2016 fell 12 percent ($496 million) from October 2016. This follows a 9.3 percent rise in October 2016 compared with September 2016.

The trend for goods exports has been falling since April 2016.

Contrasting movements in seasonally adjusted export values

The seasonally adjusted movements in November 2016, compared with October 2016, for our main export destinations were:

  • China – down $26 million (3.3 percent) to $742 million. The trend is 33 percent lower than the series peak in December 2013.
  • Australia – up $18 million (2.8 percent) to $681 million. The trend is 26 percent lower than the series peak in July 2011.
  • EU – down $86 million (21 percent) to $330 million. The trend is 21 percent lower than the series peak in December 2008.

Changes in seasonally adjusted export values

Meat and edible offal fell 10 percent ($49 million), following a 13 percent rise in October 2016. The seasonally adjusted quantity fell 9.7 percent.

Logs, wood, and wood articles fell 5.5 percent ($19 million), following a 2.0 percent fall in October 2016 and14 percent. The quantity for logs, wood and wood articles fell 14 percent.

Fruit fell 2.9 percent ($8.1 million) in November 2016, following a 7.5 percent increase in October 2016. The seasonally adjusted quantity fell 12 percent.

Milk powder, butter, and cheese fell 0.8 percent ($7.8 million), following a 9.6 percent rise in October 2016. The seasonally adjusted quantity fell 7.0 percent.  

Trend for meat and edible offal continues to fall

The trend for meat and edible offal has been falling since September 2015. The trend is 31 percent lower than the most recent high in September 2015.

The trend for milk powder, butter, and cheese has been rising for six months in a row. Before the rise in May 2016, this commodity had fallen for 10 consecutive months.

Recent trends for values of other leading commodities:

  • Logs, wood, and wood articles fell 0.5 percent after rising for 16 consecutive months since June 2015.
  • Fruit has been rising for 11 consecutive months since January 2016.

Seasonally adjusted imports fall 9.0 percent

Seasonally adjusted goods imports in November 2016 fell 9.0 percent ($408 million) from October 2016. This follows a 1.5 percent rise in October 2016 (compared with September 2016).

Exchange rate movements

The Reserve Bank’s trade weighted index showed that the New Zealand dollar was 1.4 percent higher in November 2016 than in October 2016, and 9.2 percent higher than in November 2015.

HS2017 changes

Data for January 2017 onwards will be released using the Harmonised System Classification 2017 (HS2017). We expect the change to aggregates to be small, but more detail will be available.

 See Harmonised Classification 2017 for some preliminary analysis.

Data tables and more information

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

See DataInfo+ for information on definitions, data quality, and revisions. These sections were previously included in this release. (Note: Due to the 14 November earthquake, DataInfo+ may still be unavailable. See Services currently unavailable.)

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