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Fruit exports strong, but logs fall

Exports of several commodities including crude oil, fruit, and dairy products increased in value in August 2019, but these rises were partly offset by a fall in log exports, Stats NZ said today.

In August 2019, the value of total goods exports rose $151 million (3.8 percent) from August 2018 to $4.1 billion.

The rise in exports was led by crude oil, up $58 million from August 2018. Exports of crude oil fluctuate from month to month and can mean large rises or falls in monthly values.

Exports of fruit rose $57 million, with both gold kiwifruit and apples up on a year earlier.

“Kiwifruit and apple exports have had strong export seasons to the end of August this year, with both values and quantities up on 2018,” international statistics manager Geraldine Duoba said.

Exports of gold kiwifruit in the 2019 season to date (April – August) were 17 percent higher in value and 13 percent higher in quantity than in 2018.

Exports of apples in the 2019 season to date (March – August) were 13 percent higher in value and 6.9 percent higher in quantity than in 2018.

These rises were partly offset by falls in liquefied natural gas (down $73 million), and untreated logs (down $51 million).

“In each of the last two months, the total value of untreated log exports is down on the same month of the previous year, driven by lower prices,” Ms Duoba said.

“However, it is only in the last two months that quantities are also down compared to the same month in 2018.”

Of our main export markets, China had the largest increase, up $118 million to $1.0 billion, led by increases in beef, kiwifruit, and dairy products. These increases were partly offset by a fall in logs.

Crude oil and aircraft parts lead rise in imports

The value of total goods imports in August 2019 rose $149 million (2.7 percent) from August 2018 to $5.7 billion.

The leading contributors to the rise were crude oil (up $73 million), aircraft parts (up $68 million), and fertilisers (up $36 million). Imports of these commodities can fluctuate from month to month and can mean large rises or falls in monthly values.

Passenger motor cars fell $39 million (8.2 percent) from the same month of the previous year. In the year ended August 2019, passenger motor cars fell $616 million (11 percent) compared to the year ended August 2018, to $4.8 billion.

Trade deficit in August 2019

The monthly trade balance in August 2019 was a deficit of $1.6 billion, marginally smaller than the record monthly deficit of September 2018.

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