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Volumes Up, Prices Down for Exports Indexes

Overseas Trade Indexes: December 2005 quarter (provisional)

— 9 March 2006

Volumes Up, Prices Down for Exports Indexes

The seasonally adjusted export volumes index rose 5.1 percent, while merchandise export prices fell 1.8 percent in the December 2005 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The main contributor to the rise in export volumes was the food and beverages index, which recorded its largest quarterly increase ever at 8.2 percent. Falling world commodity prices for meat, combined with the continued strength of the New Zealand dollar, took their toll on merchandise export prices.

The record increase in the food and beverages export volumes index in the December 2005 quarter was driven by larger volumes of whole milk powder, milk and cream, beef, and lamb. The 1.8 percent decrease in export prices this quarter was driven by a 9.0 percent decrease in the meat index, due to across-the-board price falls for all the meat sub-indexes.

The merchandise terms of trade fell 2.3 percent in the December 2005 quarter, its largest fall since a 4.7 percent fall in the June 2002 quarter. The fall in the latest quarter is due to the combined effect of a decrease in export prices (down 1.8 percent) and an increase in import prices (up 0.6 percent).

The seasonally adjusted import volumes index recorded no change in the December 2005 quarter, following rises in the previous four quarters. A higher volume of capital goods was offset by lower volumes of intermediate goods and consumption goods. Merchandise import prices rose 0.6 percent in the December 2005 quarter.

The largest contribution came from a 5.2 percent increase in the petroleum and petroleum products index. Price increases for automotive diesel, motor spirit and partly refined petroleum pushed up the petroleum and petroleum products index, despite a slight fall in the crude oil price (down 0.9 percent).

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

ENDS

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