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Fall in vehicle imports

Imports remained at high levels in May, despite a drop in motor-vehicles and accessories imports.
Posted on 26 June, 2019
Fall in vehicle imports

Goods imports in May rose $390 million, or 7.6 per cent, last month to $5.5 billion, despite a fall in imports of motor-vehicles, parts, and accessories.

According to Stats NZ, the motor-vehicle sector recorded a drop of $183m, or 20 per cent, last month compared with May 2018. 

"The fall in the value of vehicles, parts, and accessories in May 2019 is from relatively high values in the same month of the previous year," said Stats NZ in a statement. 

"The values in March, April, and May 2018 were all relatively high, and followed low values in February 2018 when measures were introduced to mitigate against the incursion of brown marmorated stink bugs."

Imports of crude oil, up $363m, led a rise in goods imports of $390m in May 2019. This rise was due to low crude oil import quantities in May 2018, when there was a maintenance shutdown of the Marsden Point oil refinery.

In contrast, petroleum and products other than crude oil (petrol, diesel, and jet fuel) fell $130m.

“During the oil refinery shutdown in May 2018, New Zealand’s fuel needs were met by products refined overseas,” says international trade analyst Dave Adair.

“In May this year, we imported larger amounts of crude oil, and less of refined product.”

Other main contributors to the rise in imports were ships and boats, up $75m, aircraft and parts, up $50m, and mechanical machinery and equipment, up $34m.

Primary sector drives increase in May exports

Exports remained at high levels in May, driven by increases in primary sector exports including dairy, fruit, and fish, Stats NZ said today.

In May 2019, the value of total goods exports rose $455m, 8.5 per cent, from May 2018 to reach $5.8b.

Exports of dairy products led the rise in exports, up $171m, up 15 per cent, to $1.3b in May 2019.

This rise was led by milk powder, up $155m on a year earlier. The rise was quantity-led, but unit values also rose, up 3.9 per cent on May 2018. In contrast, milk fats including butter fell $58 million.