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Fuel pushes up producer prices

Higher fuel prices contributed to the rise in producer output and input prices in the December 2017 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

Overall, producer output prices (the prices producers get for their goods and services) rose 1.0 percent in the December 2017 quarter. Input prices (the costs producers pay) rose 0.9 percent.

Output prices for the mining industry increased 9.3 per cent, influenced by higher crude oil prices received by gas and oil extraction producers.

Input prices paid by petroleum and coal product manufacturers rose 12 percent in the December 2017 quarter, influenced by higher imported crude oil prices.

“Higher crude oil prices led to increased costs for many industries, including petroleum, forestry and logging, transport, construction, and farming,” business prices manager Sarah Williams said.

Motor vehicle, parts and fuel retailing

In the December 2017 quarter the motor vehicle, parts and fuel retailing industry contributed for the increase in retail trade output prices (up 0.3 per cent). 

Input prices paid by motor vehicle, parts and fuel retailing rose 1.0 per cent in the December quarter, the highest increase in the retail trade industry.

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Highest ever January for new vehicle registrations

Continuing the trend for the last five years, last month’s new vehicle registrations of 14,834 was a record month for January. Registrations were up 7.3 per cent or 1011 units on January 2017.

New passenger vehicle registrations of 10,797 units were up 6.4 per cent (647 units) on January 2017. Commercial vehicle registrations of 4,037 units were up 9.9 per cent (364 units) on January 2017.

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 22 per cent market share (3,270 units), followed by Ford with 11 per cent (1,654 units) and Mazda with eight per cent market share (1,197 units).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with nearly a quarter of the market at 23 per cent market share (2,490 units) followed by Mazda with nine per cent (1,025 units) and Ford with eight per cent market share (846 units).

In the commercial sector, Ford was again the market leader with 20 per cent (808 units) followed by Toyota with 19 per cent (780 units) and Holden with 10 per cent market share (385 units).

The Toyota Corolla begins 2018 back at the top of the bestselling vehicle model table with 958 units. The Ford Ranger was the second bestselling model for the month of January with 713 units followed by the Toyota Hilux with 636 units. The Toyota Corolla was the top selling rental model for January with 696 units.

The SUV medium segment accounted for 16 per cent of the market, followed by the small passenger segment with 14 per cent and the SUV compact with 13 per cent market share.

“The strength of growth in the new vehicle market ran somewhat against expectations, making it once again the strongest ever start to a new sales year,” says David Crawford, chief executive officer of the Motor Industry Association.

“As 2018 gets underway, nothing has changed with the economic environment that existed for most of the last 24 months. The key drivers of new vehicle sales remain the continued elevated levels of net immigration, low costs of debt, a strong national economy and a stable government,” he says.

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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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Vehicles and parts sales down

According to the latest figures from Stats NZ, wholesale sales values for motor vehicles and parts, including cars are trucks, fell 3.6 per cent ($98 million) in the September 2017 quarter, after a 4.0 per cent rise ($104 million) rise in the June 2017 quarter. 

Wholesale trade statistics measure the sale or resale of new or used goods to retailers, including businesses or institutional users (including government).

“Although the sales fell in motor vehicle and parts wholesaling, stocks continued to build up in the September quarter,” Ms Chapman said.

Actual wholesale vehicle and parts stocks were up 26 per cent.  

The retail trade survey for the September 2017 quarter showed that motor vehicles and parts sales also dipped slightly from previous quarters.

Even though wholesale values for vehicles and parts were down, the overall wholesale trade values in the September 2017 quarter rose 1.1 percent ($288 million) in the September 2017 quarter, after a 1.6 percent ($389 million) rise in the June 2017 quarter.

The September increase was the sixth consecutive quarterly increase, with four of the six wholesaling industries rising in the September quarter.

Out of these four the largest industry increase was in grocery, liquor, and tobacco wholesaling, up 2.8 percent ($218 million) from the June 2017 quarter. 

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Terms of Trade record growth

New Zealand’s terms of trade rose 0.7 per cent in the September quarter to reach an all-time new record, Stats NZ said today.

Terms of trade is a measure of purchasing power of New Zealand’s exports abroad and an indicator of the state of the overall economy. It provides a more detailed reading of the flow of goods and services across the border.

The rise of 0.7 per cent this quarter was due to import prices falling more than export prices. 

Diagram for the September 2017 quarter.

Import movements in the motor vehicle industry contributed to the fall in import prices, with a 3.2 per cent decrease compared to the previous quarter ending in June 2017.

The drop in petroleum and petroleum product prices, which aren’t seasonally adjusted, had a significant effect on the overall decrease in imports. Prices fell 11.9 percent, with volumes down 5.6 percent and values down 17 percent.

The main reason, however, is due the increased price of meat and dairy exports.

“The terms of trade increased over the last year, driven by high meat and dairy prices, especially butter, to reach the highest level since the series began in March 1957,” international statistics senior manager Daria Kwon said.

“The previous high for the terms of trade was the June 1973 quarter.”

The services terms of trade rose 3.6 per cent in the September 2017 quarter. Services export prices rose 0.9 per cent, led by 3.2 per cent gain for transportation, while import prices for services imports fell by 2.6 per cent.

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EV registrations continue to grow

The week starting 30 October 2017 saw 182 electric vehicles (EVs) registered, the highest number in a single week. 

There were 430 EV registrations in October, the highest registered in a single month. 

The total number of EV registrations in New Zealand is 5,401. 

That puts the country ahead of its target of having 4000 EVs on our roads by the end of 2017. That goal was a step towards the national target of 64,000 EVs by the end of 2021, around two per cent of the number of cars in the country.

Driving an electric vehicle in New Zealand allows for 80 per cent fewer carbon emissions than a petrol or diesel car due to New Zealand’s abundant renewable electricity.

There are also about 50 fast chargers available throughout the length of the country, with more coming, giving EV driver’s greater confidence on longer journeys.


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Fall in vehicle imports from Japan

Imports from Japan were down $50 million, 14 per cent, led by a fall in motor vehicles, down $46 million in August, Stats NZ said today.

However, imports from the European Union were up $107 million (12 per cent) to $1 billion, led by a rise in vehicles, parts, and accessories, up $69 million, and Australia was up $48 million (8.2 per cent) to $637 million, with increases across a range of commodities.

Vehicles parts and accessories were little changed (up 0.1 percent).

Kiwifruit exports rose $73 million in August 2017 to reach $268 million, up 37 per cent on the same month last year.

The rise was the leading contributor to an increase of $306 million (9 per cent) in overall goods exports, which was $3.7 billion in August.

For the August 2017 year, the value of kiwifruit exports was the highest ever at $1.8 billion, up $202 million, up 13 per cent, from the previous year. The quantity of kiwifruit exports was up 9.8 per cent over the same period.

“This annual increase in kiwifruit exports was led by gold kiwifruit, in particular to China,” international statistics senior manager Daria Kwon said.

Other export goods commodities to rise in the month of August were petroleum and products including crude oil, up $54 million, food preparations including infant formula, up $44 million or 50 per cent, and mechanical machinery and equipment, up $27 million or 21 per cent.

However, Milk powder, butter, and cheese, New Zealand’s single biggest export commodity group, fell $12 million (2.6 per cent) in August 2017 compared with August 2016, reflecting a smaller quantity for the month. This month’s fall follows strong rises in recent months. International dairy product auction prices rose sharply in the second half of 2016.

Goods imports rose $301 million (6.5 per cent) to reach $4.9 billion in August 2017, led by an increase in the value of crude oil (up $147 million or 93 per cent). Imports of crude oil and other petroleum products tend to move up and down from month to month, depending on the timing of shipments.

The monthly trade deficit in August 2017 was $1.2 billion (33 per cent of exports), marginally lower than the deficit in August 2016.

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Population growth partly due to net migration

New Zealand’s population grew by 100,400 in the year ended June 2017, the largest ever increase for a June year. New Zealand’s estimated resident population was 4.79 million at 30 June 2017.

Net migration (arrivals minus departures) contributed 72,300 people to the growth, along with 28,100 from natural increase (births minus deaths).

New Zealand’s current gain from net migration equates to 15 people per 1,000 population. Much higher net migration rates were experienced in the late 1870s. Similar rates to today were also experienced in the early 1900s and early 2000s.

“Our current net migration rate is high by New Zealand standards, but historically it has fluctuated more than other countries,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. “At the moment we’re experiencing rates similar to Australia’s in 2009.”

Over the last five years New Zealand’s population grew by nearly 390,000, more than the population of Christchurch city, to reach 4.79 million in June 2017, Stats NZ said today. Last year’s growth of 100,400 came from 28,100 natural increase (births minus deaths) and 72,300 net migration (arrivals minus departures).

“Half of last year’s growth was in the 15–39 age group,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. “This reflects the contribution of migration to our population growth, with net migration of 50,000 among those aged 15–39 years.”

As a result of recent migration flows, the share of New Zealand’s population aged 15–39 years rose from 33 percent in 2013 to 34 percent in 2017. This is a reversal of the trend that saw the share drop from 41 percent in the mid-1980s.

Growth of the broad 65+ age group continues to accelerate, up 25,000 in the last year, as the large birth cohorts of the 1950s-early 1970s begin to reach those ages.

The population at the oldest ages is also growing, reflecting decreasing death rates at all ages over a long period of time. The 90+ population is now 30,000 compared with 20,000 in 2007. It is projected to reach 40,000 in the late 2020s and 50,000 in the early 2030s.

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Car imports top $500m in June

The value of car imports edged past $500 million for the first time in June 2017, Stats NZ said today. Total monthly imports were up 7.7 per cent, or $319 million, to $4.5 billion compared to June 2016.

Imports of cars were up $118 million, or 31 per cent, to $505 million. This boom in import value was driven by an increase in new vehicles, which grew $86 million in value year-on-year.

June was the eleventh consecutive month of year-on-year growth in value for vehicle imports, with 2,566 more cars imported compared to June 2016.

Imports of the vehicles, parts and accessories industry sector rose 36.4 per cent year-on-year to $821 million. For the 12 months ending June, vehicle imports rose 18.3 per cent to $8.5 billion.

Petrol imports were somewhat sluggish, up just two per cent to $388 million in June when compared to the same month of the previous year. For the 12 months ending June 2017, imports rose 10.3 per cent to $4.99 billion.

Dairy sales led June’s growth in export values. Year-on-year, exports grew 11 per cent, or $454 million, to $4.7 billion.

“The milk powder, butter, and cheese group continues to be a key export commodity, and accounts for over a quarter of our total exports,” international statistics senior manager Daria Kwon said.

When seasonally-adjusted, imports in the June 2017 quarter rose 2.9 per cent, or $396 million, to $14 billion. Exports rose 9.9 per cent, or $1.2 billion, to $13.5 billion.

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Migration hits another record

Annual net migration in the year ending June 2017 reached a record high of 72,300, Stats NZ said today. Migrant arrivals hit 131,400, and departures were 59,100.

Compared with the 12 months ending June 2016, this means net migration rose by 3,200.

“Annual net migration has been steadily increasing since late 2012 when we had more departures than arrivals,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

“Over the past three years, annual net migration has been consistently hitting record levels due to an increasing number of non-New Zealand citizen arrivals.”

Migration in the last year was mainly driven by non-New Zealand citizens, with a net gain of 73,600 arrivals.

Departures of New Zealand citizens outnumbered arrivals, and Stats NZ measured a net loss of 1,300 citizens.

Of the 33,500 New Zealanders who left the country in the June 2017 year, 61 per cent went to Australia.

Arrivals from Asia fell 5.2 per cent to 42,975, driven by a 31.5 per cent decline in Indian migrants.

However, long-term European arrivals rose 12.1 per cent to 31,094. The highest increases were seen in the UK, up 11.9 per cent to 15,166 migrants, Germany, up 13.3 per cent to 4,592 arrivals, and France, up 11.8 per cent to 4,432.

Migration from South Africa also heavily increased in the last 12 months, up 57 per cent to 1,869 arrivals.

Visitor arrivals surged in June, up 17 per cent to 230,100. UK and Irish visitors accounted for 10 per cent of visitor numbers.

“June 2017 had the second-highest number of monthly UK and Irish visitor arrivals for a June month ever,” Dolan said.

“The highest was in June 2005 when arrivals reached 28,200, which also coincided with the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.”

Compared to June 2016, visitor arrivals were up 10.2 per cent. The number of visitors on holiday rose 12.3 per cent to 209,024, the highest segment increase, followed by visitors attending conferences and conventions, which rose 10.7 per cent.

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