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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Exports to China rise strongly in January – Media release

27 February 2020

Exports to China rose $302 million (31 percent) to $1.3 billion in January 2020 compared with January 2019, led by increases in dairy, meat, and logs, Stats NZ said today.

This was the biggest increase in dollar value for any New Zealand export market in January and accounted for most of the lift in total exports. Trade data for January 2020 covers the period just before travel restrictions were imposed after the coronavirus outbreak in China.

“China is New Zealand’s top trading partner and exports have grown strongly over the past three years, continuing into the first month of 2020,” international statistics manager Darren Allan said.

“China is an especially important market for our top three exports, accounting for more than a quarter of dairy, about half of all meat, and almost two-thirds of wood exports in January. We will see any initial economic impact of coronavirus in February trade figures. This may reflect a change in demand because of the extended Chinese New Year holiday and quarantine imposed in some areas in China.”

In the January 2020 month, New Zealand exported 27 percent ($1.3 billion) of its total exports to China alone. On an annual basis, 28 percent of New Zealand’s total exports were to China.

Meat exports to China rose $95 million, dairy rose $143 million, and wood rose $32 million in January 2020 compared with January 2019.

Overall, total exports remained at high levels in the January 2020 month. The value of total goods exports rose $382 million (8.8 percent) from January 2019 to reach $4.7 billion.

Motor cars lead fall in imports

Car imports fell $107 million in January 2020, compared with the same month in 2019, in part leading to an overall drop in imports.

The value of total goods imports fell $212 million (4.0 percent) to $5.1 billion in January 2020.

Imports of vehicles, parts, and accessories were down $116 million, leading the fall in goods imports in January 2020. Motor cars were the main driver of this decrease.

Most cars are imported from Japan, EU, South Korea, Thailand, and the United States.

Total imports from China in January 2020 were worth $1.1 billion, which is 22 percent of New Zealand’s total monthly imports. On an annual basis, 20 percent of New Zealand’s total imports were from China.

Consumer imports from China include cell phones, worth about $1.1 billion in the year to January 2020; and computers, worth almost $1 billion a year. Imports from China make up most imports of all cell phones ($1.8 billion) and computers ($1.4 billion) coming into New Zealand.

Trade deficit in January 2020

The monthly trade balance was a deficit of $340 million.

The January 2020 deficit as a percentage of two-way trade is 3.5 percent.