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Export Prices Drive Terms of Trade Up

Overseas Trade Indexes: June 2004 quarter (provisional) — 10 September 2004

Export Prices Drive Terms of Trade Up

The merchandise terms of trade rose 2.1 percent in the June 2004 quarter, according to latest Overseas Trade Index figures released by Statistics New Zealand. The rise in the index is due to export prices rising more than import prices in the latest quarter, and means that more imports can be funded from a fixed quantity of exports. Merchandise export prices rose 7.2 percent in the quarter, due to the combined effect of high world commodity prices and the depreciation of the New Zealand dollar (down 4.4 percent, according to the trade weighted index) against all of our major trading partners' currencies.

Dairy prices (up 11.0 percent) were the largest contributor to the overall rise in merchandise export prices in the June 2004 quarter. Also contributing to the rise were higher prices for meat products (up 10.2 percent), forestry products (up 3.4 percent), and non-fuel crude materials (up 2.9 percent). All of the major export series recorded price increases in the June 2004 quarter. Seasonally adjusted volumes of merchandise exports rose 1.7 percent in the June 2004 quarter.

This is the third consecutive quarter of record levels. With the exception of the dairy products and meat indexes, all the main indexes recorded increases. Commodities contributing to this increase were fine wool, fibreboard, aluminium ingots, newsprint and sawn pinus radiata. Import prices rose 5.0 percent in the latest quarter, reflecting high world prices for most of our major import commodities and the weaker New Zealand dollar.

The rise in price of petroleum and petroleum products (up 20.7 percent) was the main contributor to the increase in merchandise import prices. This was followed by higher prices for mechanical machinery (up 3.7 percent), transport equipment (up 2.6 percent), plastics and plastic articles (up 7.6 percent), and iron and steel (up 15.3 percent).

Media Release

Petroleum and petroleum products was also the main contributor to the 3.2 percent rise in the seasonally adjusted volume of merchandise imports. Additional diesel and motor spirit was imported during the quarter to cover lost production while the Marsden Point refinery underwent maintenance. Excluding fuel imports, the rise in import volumes was 0.3 percent. Brian Pink Government Statistician


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