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Lamb export prices spring to a new high

2 September 2019

Export prices for lamb reached their highest point in the June 2019 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

This level is the highest since the series began in 1982, and follows steady increases from the second half of 2016.

“Both lamb and beef prices rose this quarter, up 4.7 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively, on the back of strong overseas demand,” overseas trade statistics manager Darren Allan said.

Seasonally adjusted meat volumes fell 3.1 percent, with lamb volumes down 8.7 percent.

Both meat and dairy products pushed total export prices up 3.4 percent in the June 2019 quarter compared with the March 2019 quarter.

Dairy product prices rose 11 percent in the June 2019 quarter, with prices for milk powder up 11 percent, butter up 13 percent, and cheese up 3.1 percent.

Overall export volumes, adjusted for seasonal effects, fell 2.6 percent in the June 2019 quarter. Dairy volumes fell 9.3 percent following an 18 percent rise in the March 2019 quarter.

Seasonally adjusted volumes for forestry products also fell in the June 2019 quarter, down 1.9 percent.

Prices for forestry products were the only major export commodity to fall in the June 2019 quarter, down 1.7 percent.

“While there was a slight dip in prices for forestry products in the June quarter, this continued into July, as seen in overseas merchandise trade data,” Mr Allan said.

Fuel prices up

Fuel import prices rose 13 percent in the June 2019 quarter, reflecting higher prices for crude oil (up 17 percent), petrol (up 12 percent), and diesel (up 3.6 percent).

“Despite the price increase, volumes for crude oil imports were relatively flat, falling 0.6 percent,” Mr Allan said.

“Volumes for petrol fell 4.8 percent, and diesel volumes were down 9.9 percent.”

Higher fuel prices drove the rise in overall import prices, which rose 1.8 percent in the June 2019 quarter.

Overall import volumes, adjusted for seasonal effects, fell 3.5 percent in the June quarter.

Terms of trade up 1.6 percent

The merchandise terms of trade rose 1.6 percent, as export prices rose more than import 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.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

For more information about these statistics:
• Visit Overseas trade indexes (prices and volumes): June 2019 quarter (provisional)
• See CSV files for download


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