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Exports and imports values continue to rise

Embargoed until 10:45am – 27 June 2008

Exports and imports values continue to rise

The total value of merchandise exports rose 11.2 percent from May 2007 to May 2008, to reach $3.7 billion, while merchandise imports were up 17.3 percent to $3.9 billion over the same period, Statistics New Zealand said today.

For both exports and imports, this is the ninth consecutive monthly rise (from the same month of the previous year). Crude oil and other petroleum products led the increase for both exports and imports in the May 2008 month.

The next largest increase in exports came from meat and edible offal which rose $117 million from May 2007, with sheep meat the main contributor to this rise. The total exports value for meat and edible offal is the highest ever for a May month and at $528 million is only just short of the highest ever recorded monthly value ($534 million in March 2005).

The recent drought appears to have impacted on both imports and exports in May 2008. Import quantities of food residues, wastes and fodder were 70.9 percent higher than any other month of the last decade, led by an increase in oil cake. Export quantities of milk powder, butter and cheese were down 29.7 percent compared with the previous May, although values were still up 3.9 percent.

In May 2008, the monthly trade balance was a deficit of $196 million, or 5.3 percent of exports. Over the past 10 years, May months have recorded a deficit only three times. All three of these occurred in the past four years, with May 2008 being the largest (both by value and as a percentage of exports).

Dallas Welch (Mrs)
Acting Government Statistician
27 June 2008


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