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Lamb exports climb to record levels

Lamb exports reached record levels in February 2019, bumping up overall meat exports to a new monthly high, Stats NZ said today.

Lamb exports were $391 million in February 2019, a new record for any month. The previous high was in May 2018 ($367 million).

This month’s rise was driven by higher prices, as quantity was little changed from May last year.

“Lamb prices peaked in October last year and remain at high levels,” acting international statistics manager Dave Adair said.

“This is consistent with high lamb prices in the supermarket.”

Beef exports were up $43 million in February 2019 to reach $311 million, compared with the same month a year ago. While both value and quantity are up, the rise was mainly due to increased quantities.

Overall meat exports reached a record $839 million in February 2019, due to the high lamb export values. The previous high for meat exports was in March 2015 ($827 million).

February 2019 exports

Overall goods exports were up $371 million (8.3 percent) to $4.8 billion compared with the same month last year.

Milk powder, butter, and cheese (our largest commodity group) was up $263 million in February to $1.3 billion.

Milk powder led this rise, up $155 million (28 percent). This increase was quantity driven (23 percent) with exports to China up $87 million.

Untreated logs and preparations of milk, cereals, flour, and starch were also main contributors to the rise.

February 2019 imports

The value of total goods imports rose $547 million (13 percent) to $4.8 billion.

Vehicles, parts, and accessories were the main contributor to the imports rise, up $133 million (27 percent) to reach $634 million. Cars were up $93 million (36 percent) when compared with the same month a year ago.

“The value increase in cars this month is in part due to the discovery of stink bugs in four vehicle carriers in February last year, which meant car imports in that month were unusually low,” Mr Adair said. “Car imports recovered by the middle of 2018.”

Imports rise despite fall in cars has more information on how the stink bug discovery affected car imports in February 2018.

Near-record imports in November despite fewer imported cars details how the discovery of stink bugs in November 2018 affected car imports again late last year.

“Higher car imports in 2019 may reflect another catch-up as we saw in the middle of 2018,” Mr Adair said.

The next largest increases were in aircraft and parts (up $122 million), and petroleum and products, including crude oil, petrol, and diesel (up $64 million).

Trade balance

The monthly trade balance was a surplus of $12 million. In the last 10 February months, there have been nine surpluses and one deficit.

New Zealand’s two-way trade with the world is a new dashboard that shows two-way trade between New Zealand and other countries, where total trade is valued at more than $10 million.

Stats NZ is seeking your feedback on how useful this dashboard is to you, and any suggestions on how it can be improved. To send your feedback, click on the email link provided on the page.

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