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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Near-record imports in November despite fewer imported cars – 20 December 2018

Monthly imports remain at high levels, despite lower imports of cars and aircraft in November 2018, Stats NZ said today.

However, monthly goods imports values were little changed from the November month of the previous year, down $36 million (0.6 percent) to $5.8 billion.

In November, the largest fall was in passenger motor cars, down $178 million (35 percent) from November 2017.

Car imports were the most affected commodity by the delay in final unloading of one cargo ship in November.

“In a repeat of events in February this year, another vessel was ordered to leave New Zealand waters in November due to the discovery of stink bugs,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said.

“The goods on this vessel would normally have been included in November’s import statistics but will now be included in the statistics for the month when the goods are unloaded.”

Cargo ship ordered to leave New Zealand has more information on the discovery of stink bugs on this vessel.

After some car shipments were blocked in February, car imports bounced back in the following months.

Aircraft and parts were the next largest fall, down $143 million from the same month last year. Aircraft imports are irregular and can mean large rises or falls in monthly figures.

The falls in imports were offset by rises across a range of other commodities, including fertilisers, soya bean oil cake, and palm oil cake.

Exports rise in November

Monthly goods exports were up $326 million (7.1 percent) from November 2017 to $4.9 billion.

Exports of aluminium and beef were the leading contributors to the rise in exports.

Exports of aluminium were up $59 million from November 2017 due to unusually low values and quantities in November 2017. The monthly value in November 2018 ($101 million) was at a level similar to recent months.

Beef rose $51 million from November 2017, led by an increase of $32 million to China.

Milk powder, butter, and cheese, our largest commodity group, rose $30 million (2.1 percent).

“There were contrasting movements in dairy product commodities in November,” Mr Islam said. “Milk powder was up, whereas exports of butter were down by a similar amount.”

There was an increase in exports to most of our top export destinations, the largest of these rises were to China (up $220 million), and USA (up $96 million).

Trade deficit in November

The monthly trade balance in November was a deficit of $861 million, with:

  • total goods exports at $4.9 billion
  • total goods imports at $5.8 billion.

The annual trade balance for the year ended November 2018 was a deficit of $5.4 billion, with:

  • total goods exports at $57.5 billion
  • total goods imports at $63.0 billion.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

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