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Exports and imports both fall in October 2015
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 November 2015

Overseas Merchandise Trade: October 2015  –  Media Release

The trade deficit widened to $963 million in October 2015, compared with a deficit of $892 million for the same period last year, Statistics New Zealand said today. Exports fell more than imports.

Total goods exports fell to $3.8 billion, down 4.5 percent from October 2014. Milk powder, butter, and cheese led the fall, down $202 million from October 2014. Goods imports fell $109 million (2.2 percent), led by falls in petrol and avgas, and capital goods.

Goods exports to China rose $57 million (9.2 percent), to move China ahead of Australia as our top annual export destination. The rise in exports to China this month was led by beef, milk powder, and kiwifruit. Goods exports to Australia fell $66 million (down 8.0 percent), driven by crude oil which fell $60 million. 

The rise and fall of dairy exports has been driven by demand from China, and is reflected in our total exports to China. China became the top export destination in November 2013, but fell below Australia from March to September 2015. However, China is now both our top export destination for goods, and our top source of imports. Although milk powder exported to China fell 65 percent for the year ended October 2015, it is still the largest commodity. Smaller exports such as beef and fruit have doubled in value in the past year.

“Since annual exports to China fell from their peak in 2014, exports to China and Australia have been around $8.4 billion each,” international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. "Annual exports to Australia peaked in January 2012 but have been generally falling since, due to lower crude oil exports."

Graph, Exports to China and Australia, annual.

This release focuses on our goods trade. Goods made up 80 percent of total goods and services exports to China and 95 percent of total imports from China for the year ended June 2015. Goods and Services Trade by Country: Year ended September 2015 will be available on 2 December 2015.

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Stuart Jones, Christchurch, 03 964 8700, info@stats.govt.nz
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 26 November 2015

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