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Monthly imports over $5 billion in October
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  24 November 2017

Overseas Merchandise Trade: October 2017  –  Media Release

Imports hit a record $5.4 billion in October 2017, with increases across a wide range of commodities, Stats NZ said today. The previous high for any month was $5.0 billion in September 2014.

Import values for the month were $709 million higher than in October 2016.

“Intermediate goods, used as ingredients or inputs into the production of other goods and services, were the leading contributor to the increase in imports in October,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said.

Intermediate goods, such as crude oil, fertilisers, plastics, and sugar, were up $318 million (18 percent) in value in October 2017 compared with the same month of the previous year.

Capital goods were up $166 million (14 percent). There were increases in mechanical machinery and equipment, and trucks and vans, and a decrease in the value of aircraft imports.

Consumption goods (those ready to be used by households) were up $138 million (11 percent).

Passenger motor cars were up $71 million (17 percent), adding to the rise in total imports.



Dairy leads exports rise

Total exports were $4.6 billion in October 2017, up $636 million (16 percent) from October 2016.

Dairy products were the key driver, up $231 million (22 percent). The rise in values was led by butter (up 38 percent) and milk powder (up 25 percent), both movements reflecting higher prices than a year earlier. While values were up, volumes of most dairy commodities exported in October were lower than in the same month of the previous year.

Forestry products (up $98 million or 27 percent), and lamb exports (up $61 million or 42 percent) also contributed to the increase in export values.

Fruit exports were down $60 million, reflecting lower kiwifruit volumes exported in the month compared with October 2016. Exports of kiwifruit in the year to October 2017 were down 1.4 percent in value and 9.9 percent in quantity from the previous October year.

The monthly trade deficit in October 2017 was $871 million (19 percent of exports). The trade deficit in October 2016 was $798 million (20 percent of exports).


For media enquiries contact: Tehseen Islam, 03 964 8320,
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 24 November 2017

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