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Export Volumes Fall 8.7 Percent

10 December 2004

Overseas Trade Indexes: September 2004

Export Volumes Fall 8.7 Percent

Seasonally adjusted merchandise export volumes fell 8.7 percent in the September 2004 quarter, according to latest Overseas Trade Index figures released by Statistics New Zealand. The dairy products index was the main contributor to the fall, down 26.8 percent. The index is at its lowest level since the December 2000 quarter when agricultural production was beginning to recover from two years of drought.

The merchandise terms of trade fell 0.2 percent in the September 2004 quarter. The fall in the index is due to export prices falling more than import prices in the latest quarter, and means that less imports can be funded from a fixed quantity of exports.

Merchandise export prices fell 1.1 percent in the September 2004 quarter, following a 7.2 percent rise in the previous quarter. The appreciation of the New Zealand dollar against our main trading partners' currencies has had a significant negative impact on export prices. Forestry products prices (down 5.9 percent) made the largest contribution to the overall fall in merchandise export prices in the September 2004 quarter.

Also contributing to the fall were lower prices for meat products (down 1.3 percent) and wool (down 1.6 percent). All of the major export series recorded price falls in the current quarter, except dairy products (up 1.6 percent) and fish and fish preparations (up 1.3 percent).

Import prices fell 0.9 percent in the latest quarter, reflecting the stronger New Zealand dollar. The falls in prices of mechanical machinery (down 2.9 percent) and electrical machinery (down 2.4 percent) were the main contributors to the fall in merchandise import prices. Partly offsetting this fall were higher prices for petroleum and petroleum products (up 6.0 percent), iron and steel (up 8.5 percent), and plastics and plastic articles (up 1.2 percent). ƒnƒn

The seasonally adjusted volume of merchandise imports fell 2.4 percent in the September 2004 quarter, the first decrease since September 2001. The fall follows a quarter in which additional diesel and motor spirits were imported to cover lost production while the Marsden Point refinery underwent maintenance. If fuel imports are excluded, import volumes would have increased 0.1 percent. However, a large aircraft valued at over $100 million contributed to import volumes in the September 2004 quarter.

Brian Pink Government Statistician

ENDS

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