Highest March trade surplus

The value of exports increased again in the March quarter:

The seasonally adjusted value of exported goods rose 2.1 percent to $13.6 billion in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This follows rises in the previous two quarters.

“Meat and fruit led the increase in seasonally adjusted exports,” international statistics manager Jason Attewell said. “This is the second consecutive quarter that both values and quantities for these two commodities have risen.”

Seasonally adjusted meat values rose 8.7 percent in the March quarter, and quantities rose 6.8 percent. Fruit values rose 27 percent, and quantities rose 20 percent.

The rise in meat and fruit was offset slightly by a fall in milk powder, butter, and cheese, down 2.4 percent. The fall in dairy follows 26 percent increases in both the September and December 2013 quarters. Despite the small fall this quarter, dairy remains at high levels and is the leading contributor (31 percent) to total exports.

Imports rose 1.5 percent to $12.5 billion in the March 2014 quarter. The increase was led by a rise in capital goods.

The seasonally adjusted trade balance for the March 2014 quarter was a surplus of $1.1 billion. This follows a surplus of $986 million in the December 2013 quarter.

Monthly exports pass $5 billion for the first time

Exports rose $671 million in the March month, to $5.1 billion. Milk powder, butter, and cheese led the rise in exports, up $474 million (45 percent) compared with March 2013.

“This is the first time monthly exports have exceeded $5 billion, and annual exports have exceeded $50 billion,” Mr Attewell said. “Record dairy exports pushed the values past these thresholds.”

Imports rose $483 million (13 percent) to $4.2 billion, which was influenced by a one-off large capital item. The trade surplus was $920 million. This is the highest recorded surplus for a March month. . .

These figures underline once again the importance of primary production, and dairying in particular.

The increase in value has happened in spite of the high value of the New Zealand dollar.

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