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Global New Zealand – International trade, investment, and travel profile: Year ended December 2011
Key points

Global New Zealand – International Trade, Investment, and Travel Profile is a twice-yearly report co-published by Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It uses annual data for overseas merchandise trade, the trade of services, foreign direct investment, and international travel and migration figures.

All comparisons are between the year ended December 2011 and the year ended December 2010, unless otherwise stated.

New Zealand’s merchandise exports rose $4.2 billion (9.6 percent) in the year ended December 2011, to $47.7 billion. The largest increases in export values were in dairy products and mineral fuels and oils.

The total value of New Zealand’s imports for the year ended December 2011 was $46.9 billion, up $4.5 billion (11 percent). The largest increase in import values was in the mineral fuels and oils category.

The annual merchandise trade balance for the year ended December 2011 was a surplus of $806 million (1.7 percent of exports). 

Exports increase across most commodity groups

New Zealand’s merchandise exports in the year ended December 2011 were valued at $47.7 billion, up $4.1 billion (9.6 percent). Most export commodities were up against the previous year.

Australia continues to be New Zealand’s principal export market, receiving 23 percent ($10.8 billion) of New Zealand’s exports in the year ended December 2011, up $823 million (8.2 percent). New Zealand’s second-largest export market, China, continues to grow rapidly. Exports to China have increased $1.1 billion (22 percent) and account for 12 percent of total exports, worth $5.9 billion. The United States is the third-largest export market, receiving 8.4 percent of total exports, worth $4.0 billion.

Exports to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries accounted for 71 percent of New Zealand’s total exports and were worth $33.7 billion. Exports to the European Union accounted for 11 percent ($5.4 billion) of total exports.

Exports of agricultural products

Exports of agricultural products increased $2.9 billion (12 percent) to $27.1 billion. The increase was led by the dairy, and meat and meat products categories.

Dairy products rose $1.7 billion (15 percent) to $12.9 billion, mainly due to increases in exports of concentrated milk and cream, up $1.2 billion (21 percent) and butter, up $316 million (15 percent). China (milk powder and butter), Algeria (milk powder), and the United States (casein) recorded the largest increases in dairy products.

Meat and meat products rose $503 million (9.3 percent) to $5.9 billion. Sheep meat, the highest-value meat commodity, recorded the largest increase, up $280 million (10 percent) to $3.0 billion. The Netherlands, Germany, and China recorded the largest increases in sheep meat products. The largest destination of New Zealand’s sheep meat by value, the United Kingdom, fell along with France. Frozen beef rose $145 million (8.8 percent) to $1.8 billion. The United States recorded the largest increase in frozen beef, up $64 million (8.8 percent).

Sixty-three percent of agricultural products were exported to APEC countries. The largest contributions came from exports to China, Australia, and the United States.

Exports of agricultural goods to China were up $692 million (23 percent) to $3.7 billion. Dairy products rose $380 million (20 percent) to $2.3 billion; led by milk powder, up $174 million (11 percent), and butter, up $109 million (104 percent). Wool rose $103 million (36 percent) and sheep meat rose $73 million (61 percent).

Exports to the United States were up $220 million (9.3 percent) to $2.6 billion. The largest contributions to the rise came from casein, up $93 million (38 percent) to $336 million, and from frozen beef products, up $64 million (8.8 percent) to $791 million.

Exports to Australia were up $155 million (6.1 percent) to $2.7 billion. Fruit and vegetables rose $98 million (26 percent) to $477 million. Wine rose $24 million (7.1 percent) and cheese fell $53 million (17 percent).

The largest destination for agricultural products by value outside APEC was the United Kingdom. Exports to the United Kingdom were down $11 million (0.9 percent) to $1.2 billion. Sheep meat fell $22 million (3.7 percent) to $584 million.

Algeria recorded the largest increase in agricultural products outside APEC, up $268 million (116 percent) to $500 million. Milk powder rose $204 million to $396 million.

Exports of non-agricultural products

Exports of non-agricultural products increased $1.3 billion (6.7 percent) to $20.6 billion. The largest contributor to the increase was crude and refined petroleum, up $391 million (19 percent). Forestry and forestry products rose $264 million (6.3 percent).

Australia received the highest value of non-agricultural products, up $668 million (8.9 percent) to $8.1 billion. The largest contributor was crude and refined petroleum, up $571 million (32 percent) to $2.4 billion.

Exports of non-agricultural products to China recorded the second-largest increase in value, up $369 million (21 percent) to $2.1 billion. Significant contributors included:

  • forestry and forestry products, up $207 million (17 percent) to $1.4 billion
  • fish, shellfish, and products, up $121 million (75 percent) to $281 million.

Exports by level of processing

In the year ended December 2011, 70 percent of all exports were primary products and 25 percent were manufactured goods. Of the primary products, 53 percent were processed. Of the manufactured goods, 63 percent were elaborately transformed. Those percentages showed little change from the year ended December 2010.

New Zealand exported 38 percent of all manufactured goods and 17 percent of all primary products to Australia. China received 16 percent of New Zealand’s primary exports. (Ninety-one percent of all exports to China were primary products.) See the Statistics NZ website for more information about how level of processing (LOP) is classified.

Imports rise by $4.5 billion

New Zealand’s merchandise imports in the year ended December 2011 were valued at $46.9 billion, up $4.5 billion (11 percent). China and the United States recorded increases, partly offset by a fall in imports from Australia.

Imports from APEC countries were valued at $33.8 billion and accounted for 72 percent of total imports. Imports from the European Union were valued at $7.3 billion and contributed 16 percent of total imports.

China became New Zealand’s largest source of merchandise imports in the year ended December 2011, up $677 million (10 percent) to $7.4 billion. The highest-value import from China was computers, up $65 million (9.6 percent) to $742 million. Telephones and cellphones were the second-largest import commodity and had the largest increase by value, up $148 million (36 percent) to $557 million.

Australia was the second-largest source of imports, accounting for $7.4 billion (16 percent) of total imports. There was a decrease of $328 million (4.3 percent). The highest-value import from Australia was aluminium oxide, up $63 million (22 percent), to $346 million. Non-crude petroleum was down $97 million (33 percent) and motor vehicles were down $63 million (20 percent). Partly offsetting those decreases was wheat, up $100 million (91 percent).

The United States was New Zealand’s third-largest source of imports, up $633 million (14 percent) to $5.0 billion. Aircraft, aircraft parts, and turbo-jets and turbo-propellers were the largest commodity groups by value.

Mineral fuels and oils were New Zealand’s highest-value imports, worth $8.1 billion and accounting for 17 percent of total imports. Other significant imports included machinery ($5.7 billion), vehicles ($4.4 billion), and electrical machinery ($4.0 billion). A description of the Harmonised System (HS) chapter heading ‘mineral fuels and oils’ is available on the Statistics NZ website.

Imports by level of processing

In the year ended December 2011, 30 percent of all imports were primary products and 69 percent were manufactured goods. Of the primary products, 52 percent were unprocessed. Of the manufactured goods, 88 percent were elaborately transformed. Fifty-eight percent of all manufactured goods imported were mechanical and electrical machinery and equipment. See the Statistics NZ website for more information about how level of processing (LOP) is classified.

Annual merchandise trade surplus of $806 million

The annual merchandise trade balance for the year ended December 2011 was a surplus of $806 million (1.7 percent of exports). This compares with a surplus of $1.2 billion (2.7 percent of exports) for the year ended December 2010.

The trade surplus with Australia was $3.5 billion (32 percent of exports). This compares with a surplus of $2.3 billion (23 percent of exports) for the year ended December 2010.

There were trade deficits with New Zealand’s next-largest trading partners. The trade deficit with China was $1.6 billion (26 percent of exports) and the trade deficit with the United States was $1.0 billion (26 percent of exports).

Imported services exceed exported services by $1 billion

New Zealand imported services to the value of $13.8 billion in the year ended December 2011. Travel services contributed $4.4 billion and transportation contributed $3.8 billion. New Zealand’s service exports were worth $12.8 billion. Travel services contributed $7.0 billion.

Overseas arrivals up 2.9 percent

Permanent, long-term, and short-term overseas visitor arrivals numbered 2.7 million, an increase of 78,000 (3.0 percent) arrivals from the year ended December 2010. The largest sources of arrivals to New Zealand were Australia (44 percent of all visitors), the United Kingdom (9.1 percent), and the United States (7.0 percent).

Arrivals from Australia increased the most, up 34,900 (3.1 percent) to 1.2 million. The second-largest increase was arrivals from China, up 24,000 (19 percent) to 153,000. Arrival numbers from Malaysia and France also increased. Arrivals from Japan decreased the most, down 19,000 (21 percent) to 71,000. The next-largest decrease was for arrivals from the Republic of Korea, down 15,000 (21 percent) to 55,000.

Re-export definition

Re-exports are goods brought into New Zealand and exported without a ‘substantial transformation’ (defined as products which have had 50 percent or more value added). Goods that have been substantially transformed are classified as domestic exports. Trans-shipment goods are not included. Goods that are re-exported will have been previously included in import statistics in some form.

Classifications

The commodity tables show the principal markets for New Zealand’s exports (and some imports) of several product groups, including agricultural, non-agricultural, dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables, forestry, and machinery. Economic groupings, and the geographic country groupings that make up the geographic regions used in the text, are defined in the appendices. Other definitions, for example the services definitions, are those Statistics NZ uses and are based on standard International Monetary Fund criteria. See appendix 6.

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