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Vehicles help rise in annual imports

Both exports and imports reached new highs in 2017, as New Zealand bought more cars and earned more from agricultural products, Stats NZ said today.

“The previous high for the value of goods exports in a calendar year was 2014,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “The previous high for imports was 2015.”

Annual exports were valued at $53.7 billion for the year ended December 2017, up $5.2 billion (11 percent) from 2016. Dairy and meat products led the rise, up $2.8 billion to $14.0 billion and up $706 million to $6.6 billion, respectively. 

Imports for the December 2017 year were up $4.9 billion, to $56.5 billion. 

Vehicles parts and accessories help with rise in annual imports

Vehicles, parts, and accessories increased by $1.2 billion to $8.9 billion, an increase of 16 per cent compared to 2016. 

Within this, motor cars rose $640 million, up 13 per cent compared to 2016, and truck and vans rose $347 million, up 23 per cent.

Mechanical machinery and equipment (such as aircraft parts and computers) rose $1.3 billion to $8.2 billion, which lead the overall rise in imports.
China was our top trading partner

Exports to China were valued at $12.0 billion, 22 per cent of New Zealand’s total exports, while imports from China were valued at $10.9 billion, 19 per cent of New Zealand’s total imports.

“China overtook Australia as our top export market in 2013 and has remained at the top every calendar year since,” Mr Islam said. “The gap between the top two markets is now wider than it’s been at any time since then.”

New Zealand’s total two-way goods trade

New Zealand’s total two-way goods trade (exports plus imports) for the year ended December 2017 was worth $110 billion, up $10 billion from 2016. Annual two-way goods trade has remained above $100 billion for the last four years.

For the year ended December 2017, there was an annual trade deficit of $2.8 billion,5.3 per cent of exports. This was smaller than the $3.1 billion deficit, 6.5 per cent of exports for the December 2016 year.

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Value of car imports reaches new high

The value of car imports have reached a new high of $513 million, according to statistics released today by Stats NZ. 

There were 26,700 passenger motor cars imported in November, at a higher average value than earlier in the year. Of those, 140 were new electric cars and around 170 were used electric cars.

Overall, imports in November 2017 were valued at $5.8 billion, said Stats NZ. The value exceeded last month’s record of $5.4 billion.

Imports rose $1.2 billion (27 per cent) from November 2016. This was the largest rise in imports since a 62 per cent rise in December 1999. The November 2017 rise was across a range of commodities. The largest increases included imports of aircraft, aircraft parts, motor vehicles, computers, and diggers.

“The $1.2 billion rise in total November 2017 imports was equivalent to 83,000 used electric cars,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “Alternatively, for that value we could have imported around 700,000 top-of-the-line mobile phones.”

Vehicles, parts and accessories, the largest import commodity group, rose $127 million (18 per cent) to $836 million, compared with November last year. Out of this, passenger motor cars rose $48 million and goods vehicles rose $54 million.

November’s movements for New Zealand’s top import partners were:

  • Japan – up $88 million (27 per cent). This was led by vehicles parts and accessories, which was up $52 million (27 per cent).
  • China – up $150 million, led by mechanical machinery and equipment, up $51 million.
  • European Union – up $247 million (32 per cent), led by increases in mechanical machinery and equipment, up $119 million, and vehicles, parts, and accessories, up $39 million.


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