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Mixed export results in February
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  24 March 2016

Overseas Merchandise Trade: February 2016  –  Media Release

In February 2016 goods exports were valued at $4.0 billion, up $96 million (2.5 percent) when compared with February 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today.

This figure excludes the export of a large drilling platform. Including the platform, exports rose $363 million (9.3 percent) to $4.2 billion.

“Export results were mixed in February 2016, with many commodities rising in value,” international statistics senior manager Stuart Jones said. “But falls for some of our main commodities, including beef, lamb, and milk powder, meant that the rise was limited.”

This month saw rises for a range of commodities, including fish, crustaceans, and molluscs (up 23 percent), and wine (up 34 percent). Annual values of fish, crustaceans, and molluscs have been rising since the year-ended November 2014, while annual values of wine have been rising since the year-ended April 2003.

Other primary produce exports had mixed results. Milk fats (including butter) and cheese both had increases in value and quantity while other components of dairy, including milk powder, fell in value (quantity showed little change). Beef and lamb exports both fell in value, with the quantity of beef falling 7.8 percent and the quantity of lamb rising 4.6 percent.

Rise in imports led by consumption goods

Imports rose $108 million (2.8 percent) to $3.9 billion in February 2016, compared with February 2015. Consumption goods led the rise, up $121 million (12 percent), with the largest increases being pharmaceuticals, toys, and sporting equipment. Since September 2014, monthly values of consumption goods have been rising when compared with the same month of the previous year (see article: Consumption goods continue upwards trend in January 2016).

Intermediate goods imports showed little change in February 2016, however excluding a fall in crude oil (down $11 million), intermediate goods rose $20 million (1.4 percent).

Capital goods fell in value, down $29 million (3.9 percent) due to transport equipment. The fall was partly offset by a rise in cellphone imports, up $18 million. Imports of cellphones from China rose $9.8 million.

In February 2016 there was a goods trade surplus of $72 million (1.8 percent of exports). Including the drilling platform, the goods trade surplus was $339 million (8.0 percent of exports). This compares with an average surplus of 8.6 percent of exports for the previous five February months.

This release focuses on our goods trade. Goods made up 71 percent of total goods and services, and 75 percent of total imports for the year ended December 2015. Goods and Services Trade by Country: Year ended March 2015 will be available on 2 June 2016.


For media enquiries contact: Dave Adair, Christchurch, 03 964 8976,
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 24 March 2016

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