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Lamb exports set new record

27 June 2018

The value of lamb exports hit a new record of $369 million in May 2018, Stats NZ said today. Higher prices and more quantities of lamb exported boosted this month’s level. The previous high for lamb exports was $340 million in February 2009.

“It has been a strong month for meat exports in general, with both lamb and beef increasing in quantities,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said.

Meat exports were up $119 million (17 percent) to $812 million. Quantity was also up 12 percent.

Lamb exports were the biggest contributor to the rise in meat, with value up $89 million (32 percent) and quantity up 22 percent. Exports of lamb were up to all major markets, including China and the European Union.

Beef exports were up $16 million (4.5 percent) to $359 million, with more exports to China. This increase was partly offset by a fall to the United States.

Overall exports were up $509 million (10 percent) to $5.4 billion, with meat exports having the largest increase. This exports total is the second highest for any month. The highest exports total was $5.5 billion in December 2017.

Forestry products had the second-largest increase in exports, up $99 million (26 percent) to $477 million. The largest increases were to China, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Motor vehicles lead imports rise

The value of total imports rose $277 million (5.7 percent) in May 2018 to reach $5.1 billion, as New Zealand imported more cars, but fewer petroleum products than a year ago.

Imports of cars rose $78 million (17 percent) in May. This boosted overall imports of vehicles, parts and accessories to $924 million, up $185 million compared with the same month last year.

In contrast, petroleum and products imports fell $196 million (30 percent) to $455 million in May 2018. Crude oil led this fall, down $256 million to $68 million.

Refining NZ reported that maintenance shutdown at the Marsden Point refinery went into full swing from 7 May. This work is scheduled to be completed in mid-June.

Crude oil was at its lowest value and quantity since May 2005.

Mechanical and electrical machinery and equipment were the other main contributors to the imports rise.

The monthly trade balance was a surplus of $294 million (5.4 percent of exports), higher than the average monthly surplus in the last five May months.

For the year ended May 2018, the annual trade deficit was $3.6 billion (6.5 percent of exports). This compares with an annual trade deficit of $3.8 billion (7.7 percent of exports) in the year ended May 2017.

Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 27 June 2018.

For more information about these statistics:

• Visit Overseas merchandise trade: May 2018

• See CSV files for download


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