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Dairy prices drive increase in export values

27 March 2008

Dairy prices drive increase in export values

The total value of merchandise exports in February 2008 rose almost one-third compared with February 2007, Statistics New Zealand said today. February 2008 was the sixth consecutive month with a large increase led by dairy products (milk powder, butter and cheese, and casein and caseinates) and petroleum and products.

Milk powder, butter and cheese rose 72.1 percent in value but only 1.1 percent in quantity compared with February 2007. As quantities are comparatively flat, this indicates that price increases accounted for nearly all of the increase in value. Price increases for casein and caseinates had a lesser effect on value than they did for milk powder, butter and cheese, but they were still significant, with quantity up 10.3 percent and value up 42.2 percent.

Since August 2007, the increase in domestic oil production and associated exports have contributed to substantial rises compared with the same month of the previous year. The February 2008 month is no exception, with crude oil up $153 million. Of the last five months, crude oil exports for the latest month are the smallest in value ($172 million). Merchandise imports in February 2008 were valued at $3.5 billion, representing a 16.1 percent increase from February 2007. The increase was led by a rise in petroleum and products, with crude oil the largest contributor within this group. The next largest increase came from a rise in vehicles, parts and accessories, with new diesel motor cars (engine size exceeding 2500cc) the largest contributor.

In February 2008, the monthly trade balance was a surplus of $258 million, this follows three successive February deficits, but before 2005 it was usual for February to show a surplus. The rolling annualised trade balance has been in deficit since August 2002. The $4.4 billion deficit recorded this month is the smallest since April 2005. Geoff Bascand

Government Statistician 27 March 2008


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