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Overseas Merchandise Trade: September 2017
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 October 2017
Key facts

This release refers to trade in goods only.

September 2017 monthly values are actual and compared with September 2016.

Milk powder, butter, and cheese leads exports rise

  • Goods exports rose $313 million (9.0 percent) to $3.8 billion.
  • Milk powder, butter, and cheese had the largest rise of any export commodity group in September 2017, up $175 million (28 percent) to $791 million.
  • Milk fats including butter led the rise in milk powder, butter, and cheese, up $62 million (43 percent) to $207 million, with quantity down 22 percent.
  • Milk powder rose $58 million (20 percent) in value, with quantity down 15 percent.
  • Milk and cream rose $44 million (118 percent) in value, and 41 percent in quantity.
  • Fruit exports fell $69 million (30 percent) in value, and 38 percent in quantity.
  • The fall in fruit exports was due to kiwifruit, down in both value ($70 million) and quantity (42 percent). However, for the September 2017 year, the value of kiwifruit exports rose $69 million (4.1 percent) from the previous year. The quantity of kiwifruit exports fell 2.0 percent over the same period.

Other key changes in commodity export values for September 2017 were:

  • Food preparations (such as infant formula) – up $52 million (52 percent).
  • Logs, wood, and wood articles – up $49 million (14 percent).

The monthly movements for New Zealand's top export destinations included:

  • China – up $219 million (33 percent) to $875 million, led by milk powder, butter, and cheese, up $128 million.
  • Australia – up $54 million (7.9 percent) to $740 million, with increases across a range of commodities.
  • European Union – fell $43 million (11 percent) to $357 million, led by kiwifruit, down $33 million.
  • USA – fell $8.4 million (2.5 percent).
  • Japan – up $51 million (25 percent) to $253 million, led by aluminium, up $21 million.

Mechanical machinery and equipment leads imports rise

  • Goods imports rose $67 million (1.4 percent) to $4.9 billion.
  • Mechanical machinery and equipment rose $116 million (19 percent).
  • Food residues, wastes, and fodder rose $47 million (118 percent).
  • Automotive diesel rose $46 million.
  • Vehicles, parts, and accessories rose $41 million.
  • Aircraft and parts fell $242 million.
  • Crude oil fell $107 million.

The monthly movements for New Zealand's top import destinations were:

  • European Union – up $140 million (17 percent) to $953 million, led by a rise in mechanical machinery and equipment, up $50 million.
  • Australia – up $57 million (10 percent) to $633 million, with increases across a range of commodities.
  • United States – down $223 million (32 percent) to $473 million, led by a fall in aircraft, down $244 million.
  • China – little changed, down $3.2 million (0.3 percent) to $1.0 billion.
  • Japan – up $55 million (19 percent), led by a rise in diesel (up $30 million) and motor vehicles (up $23 million).

Trade deficit in September 2017

  • The monthly trade balance was a deficit of $1.1 billion (30 percent of exports).
  • The average monthly deficit in September over the last five years was $980 million (28 percent of exports).

Annual goods exports continue to rise

  • Annual goods exports were valued at $51.1 billion, an increase from $50.8 billion in August 2017.
  • Annual goods imports were valued at $54.0 billion, little changed from August 2017.
  • The annual trade deficit was $2.9 billion in September 2017.

Exports and imports both fall in September quarter

September 2017 quarterly values are seasonally adjusted and compared with the June 2017 quarter.

  • Goods exports fell 0.7 percent in the September 2017 quarter, to $13.4 billion. This follows a 9.2 percent ($1.1 billion) rise in the June 2017 quarter.
  • Milk powder, butter, and cheese led the fall in exports, down 4.1 percent ($153 million). Quantity was down 6.9 percent.
  • Meat fell 3.5 percent ($57 million), with quantity down 5.1 percent.
  • Preparations of cereals (which includes infant formula) rose 26 percent ($87 million).
  • Logs, wood, and wood articles rose 3.4 percent ($39 million), with quantity up 3.2 percent.
  • Crude oil rose 36 percent ($47 million).
  • Goods imports fell 2.4 percent in the September 2017 quarter, to $13.6 billion.
  • Capital goods fell 4.1 percent ($119 million), led by machinery and plants.
  • Intermediate goods fell 2.5 percent ($144 million), led by crude oil.
  • Consumption goods rose 1.3 percent ($46 million).
  • Passenger motor cars fell 5.4 percent ($74 million).
  • Quarterly trade deficit was $201 million (1.5 percent of exports).
  • There have been 14 consecutive quarterly trade deficits since March 2014.

Datasets and more information

Overseas merchandise trade datasets has CSV data for goods imports and exports.

Goods and Services Trade by Country: Year ended June 2017 has information on trade in goods and services.

Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician
ISSN 1178-0320
26 October 2017

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