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Dairy, petroleum lift export volumes to new high

Embargoed until 10:45am – 11 March 2008

Dairy and petroleum lift export volumes to new high

In the December 2007 quarter, seasonally adjusted merchandise export volumes rose 10.7 percent to reach a new high, Statistics New Zealand said today. Volumes rose in each quarter of 2007, putting the latest figure 9.7 percent up on the previous high of September 2006. The latest increase was driven by two commodity groups – dairy products, and petroleum and petroleum products – both of which also reached record levels. The dairy products index was up by over one-quarter, with all the main dairy commodities recording rises, while the increase in petroleum and petroleum products was driven by the first full quarter of production from the Tui oil-field.

The merchandise export price index rose 5.4 percent in the December 2007 quarter, with dairy products (up 12.8 percent) being the major contributor to the rise. Price rises were recorded for all dairy products, including milk and cream, butter and cheese. In the year to the December 2007 quarter, the dairy products index increased 40.5 percent, the largest annual increase since the year to the December 2000 quarter.

Seasonally adjusted merchandise import volumes rose 5.4 percent during the December 2007 quarter.

They have been increasing since the June 2006 quarter, with successive highs recorded in each of the last five quarters. Volume indexes for all of the main broad economic categories rose this quarter, the first time they have all increased in the same quarter since March 1992. The largest contribution to the rise in import volumes came from the capital goods index. This reached a new high (11.5 percent up on the previous high of December 2005), with imports of aircraft and an oil rig behind much of the latest increase.

The merchandise import price index rose 2.5 percent in the December 2007 quarter, following four consecutive quarterly falls. The main driver of the increase came from petroleum and petroleum products (up 7.6 percent). Other contributions came from higher prices for transport equipment, and food and beverages.

As a result of export prices rising more than import prices, the merchandise terms of trade rose 2.9 percent in the December 2007 quarter. This followed a 3.6 percent rise in the September 2007 quarter and was the fifth consecutive quarterly increase in the terms of trade.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
11 March 2008


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