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Imports rise despite fall in cars

Imports rise despite fall in cars

26 March 2018

Imports rose in February 2018 to a new high for a February month, Stats NZ said today. This rise was driven by machinery imports, despite a fall in the value of car imports.

“The delay in final unloading of four vehicle carriers at New Zealand ports had an impact on the total value of vehicle imports in February,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “The discovery of stink bugs on these vessels meant that around 8,000 cars could not enter New Zealand as scheduled.

“The goods on these vehicle carriers would normally have been included in February’s import statistics, but will now be included in the statistics of the month when the respective shipments are unloaded.”

MPI targets vehicles and machinery from Japan has information about measures to reduce the risk of further stink bug arrivals.

Imports of passenger motor cars fell $126 million (33 percent) from February 2017 to $257 million – the lowest monthly value since March 2013.

Despite the fall in vehicle imports, total imports were up $187 million (4.6 percent) from February 2017 to reach $4.2 billion, a new high for a February month, although the rise in percentage terms was lower than in recent months.

The rise in total imports was led by mechanical and electrical machinery and equipment (such as harvesting machinery and mobile phones), and palm kernel.

Sheep meat and forestry lead exports rise

Exports rose $446 million (11 percent) to $4.5 billion, led by increases in sheep meat and forestry products.

The total value of sheep meat exports rose $77 million (21 percent) to $447 million, as a result of higher prices for lamb and mutton compared with the same month of the previous year. The average unit price of lamb exports rose 18 percent from a year earlier; the unit price of mutton exports rose 23 percent in the same period.

Forestry products rose $62 million (19 percent) to $382 million, led by a rise in untreated logs to China (up $38 million).

Milk powder, butter, and cheese, New Zealand's biggest export commodity group, rose $55 million (5.3 percent). This rise contrasts with much stronger rises earlier in the export season, and reflects a fall in export prices for milk powder in the month.

Milk powder values were little changed in the month (up 0.3 percent), as the quantity exported rose 10 percent. Butter export values continued to rise when compared with the same month of the previous year – up $38 million (28 percent). The unit price of butter exports has fallen 14 percent from the recent peak in November 2017, but was 30 percent higher than in February 2017.

The monthly trade balance in February 2018 was a surplus of $217 million (4.9 percent of exports).

Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 26 March 2018.

For more information about these statistics:

• Visit Overseas merchandise trade: February 2018

• See CSV files for download


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