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Strong start to dairy export season

Dairy led the rise in goods exports in November 2019 as milk powder exports reached $1.1 billion, Stats NZ said today.

This is the highest value of milk powder exports for a November month since dairy exports peaked in 2013.

The value of dairy exports (milk powder, butter, and cheese) increased $348 million in November 2019. Dairy was the main contributor to total goods exports reaching $5.2 billion, up $371 million from the same month last year.

Milk powder exports had the largest increase within the dairy category, up $252 million from the same month last year.

“Typically, exports of milk powder go over $1.0 billion in December months, the peak of the dairy export season,” international statistics manager Darren Allan said.

“Since the start of the 2019/20 season we’ve seen higher quantities and prices for milk powder exports compared with the previous season. The high this month was mainly driven by price, but quantities were also up.”

Most milk powder exports were to China, up $260 million from November 2018, to reach $711 million this month.

Butter exports to China also rose $44 million to reach $70 million in the November 2019 month.

This rise in dairy exports to China contributed to a record monthly high of $1.9 billion worth of total goods exports to China in the November 2019 month.

“While monthly exports to China were up 36 percent in November, exports to eight of New Zealand’s top 10 markets fell, including key export markets of Australia, USA, Japan, and South Korea.”

Other significant contributors to the goods exports rise included beef and lamb, up $52 million and $31 million, respectively.

These rises were partly offset by a fall in untreated logs, down $58 million. This is the fifth consecutive month untreated logs export values have fallen compared with the same time last year, largely due to falls in demand from China.

Green kiwifruit also fell $21 million as the 2019 kiwifruit season comes to an end.


Monthly goods imports rose $119 million from the same month last year to reach $6.0 billion in November 2019.

Trade deficit for November

The monthly trade balance was a deficit of $753 million.

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