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Dairy export volumes advance to new record


Dairy export volumes hit a new high after rising 19 percent in the March 2019 quarter, adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said today.

While dairy volumes were strong in the quarter, actual dairy prices fell 7.5 percent. That means dairy values rose only 9.5 percent, seasonally adjusted.

Dairy products are New Zealand’s top goods export, accounting for more than a quarter of the value of all goods exported in the March quarter.

Total export volumes rose 5.0 percent in the March 2019 quarter, while total export prices fell 2.6 percent, both movements strongly influenced by dairy.

“Total export volumes are at their highest level since the series began in 1990, reflecting higher dairy volumes in the March quarter, after adjusting for seasonal effects," business prices delivery manager Sarah Johnson said.

“The previous peak in dairy export volumes was in the September 2012 quarter.”

“Dairy export prices have fallen for the second quarter in a row, likely reflecting the falling global dairy auction prices seen between June and November 2018. There is a lag between auction prices and the time dairy products cross the wharf for export,” Mrs Johnson said.

Fuel import prices fall

Fuel import prices fell 20 percent in the March 2019 quarter, reflecting much lower prices for petroleum and related products.

Crude oil prices were down 21 percent, while petrol prices were down 26 percent. Diesel prices were also down 15 percent this quarter.

Lower fuel prices were a key driver in the drop in overall import prices, down 3.5 percent in the March 2019 quarter.

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Total imports volumes rose 1.2 percent, led by diesel volumes (up 46 percent) and petrol (up 26 percent), while crude oil volumes fell 5.4 percent.

“Crude oil import volumes have been steady over the last five years, whereas the value of crude oil imports has been highly influenced by the price,” Mrs Johnson said.

Terms of trade up 1.0 percent

The merchandise terms of trade rose 1.0 percent, as imports prices fell more than export prices. The terms of trade is a measure of the purchasing power of New Zealand’s exports abroad. An increase means New Zealand can buy more imports for the same amount of exports.

Export and import numbers at a click

Seeing what Kiwis buy and sell internationally is now much easier with our New Zealand trade dashboard. The new dashboard includes a map of the world – just click on any country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe to see how much New Zealand trades with that country.

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