All comparisons are between January 2013 and January 2012, unless otherwise stated.
Exports down 10 percent
In January 2013, merchandise exports were valued at $3.3 billion, down $378 million (10 percent) from January 2012.
Fall in exports led by whole milk powder
Milk powder, butter, and cheese decreased $208 million (16 percent), led by whole milk powder, down $120 million (20 percent), and unsalted butter, down $65 million (45 percent).
Other key changes in commodity group export values, for January 2013:
- Crude oil was down $62 million (43 percent). Exports of this commodity can be irregular, affected by the timing of shipments and the amount of crude oil kept in New Zealand to be refined locally.
- Aluminium and aluminium articles fell $22 million (24 percent), led by unwrought aluminium.
- Meat and edible offal had the largest offsetting increase, up $39 million (9.6 percent).
- Precious metals, jewellery, and coins increased $32 million (48 percent), led by unwrought gold.
Exports to Australia show the largest decrease
Exports to Australia decreased the most, down $91 million (13 percent), led by a fall in crude oil, down $62 million. Bitumen, white wine, and avocadoes also contributed to the decrease.
The value of exports to Japan fell $43 million (19 percent), led by unwrought aluminium.
Milk powder led the decrease in exports to:
- Venezuela – down $33 million
- Malaysia – down $31 million
- Sri Lanka – down $26 million.
Milk powder led the increase in exports to:
- Algeria – up $30 million
- Cuba – up $11 million.
Exports to China, New Zealand’s second-largest trading partner, rose $19 million (3.1 percent). The rise was led by meat and edible offal, up $31 million, and logs, wood, and wood articles, up $24 million. This was partly offset by small falls in a range of other commodities.
Imports fall 6.0 percent
Merchandise imports for January 2013 were valued at $3.7 billion, down $234 million (6.0 percent) from January 2012. Excluding one-off imports in January 2012, imports fell $20 million (0.6 percent) in January 2013.
Capital goods and intermediate goods show largest decreases
For the three main economic categories, the value of capital and intermediate goods fell and consumption goods rose.
Capital goods fell $153 million (19 percent). The fall was driven by transport equipment, down $214 million (71 percent). Machinery and plant partly offset this fall, up $61 million (12 percent).
Intermediate goods fell $147 million (7.8 percent), led by crude oil, down $90 million (19 percent), and diesel, down $94 million (74 percent).
Consumption goods rose $15 million (1.7 percent).
In other categories of goods:
- Passenger motor cars rose $25 million (13 percent), due to new diesel motor cars exceeding 2500cc.
- Petrol and avgas rose $25 million (20 percent), due to premium motor spirit.
Key movements in commodity import values
By commodity group, the value of imports fell for:
- aircraft and parts – down $230 million (88 percent)
- petroleum and products – down $134 million (18 percent), led by crude oil and automotive diesel (partly offset by premium motor spirit and petroleum bitumen)
- inorganic chemicals – down $18 million (33 percent), due to aluminium oxide.
Mechanical machinery and equipment rose $55 million (12 percent). Vehicles, parts, and accessories rose $37 million (12 percent).
Petroleum and products lead country of origin changes
Import shipments of petroleum and products tend to fluctuate depending on where they come from, which causes large changes in quantities and values. In January 2013, compared with January 2012, petroleum and products influenced the value of imports from:
- Brunei, down $243 million, and Oman, down $75 million, both due to crude oil
- Korea, down $83 million (40 percent), led by automotive diesel
- Japan, down $45 million (21 percent), led by regular motor spirit
- Indonesia, up $115 million, Russia, up $52 million, and Malaysia, up $48 million, all due to crude oil
- Taiwan, up $44 million, due to regular motor spirit.
Other significant import movements were seen for:
- United States – down $148 million (29 percent), due to aircraft and parts (partly offset by fertilizer and petroleum coke)
- China, New Zealand’s main imports partner – down $8.5 million (1.3 percent), over a range of commodities
- Thailand – up $34 million, led by new motor cars exceeding 2500cc.
Trade deficit in January 2013
In January 2013, there was a trade deficit of $305 million (9.1 percent of exports). This compares with an average deficit of 1.8 percent of exports over the previous five January months, despite surpluses in January 2010 and 2011.
For the year ended January 2013, there was an annual trade deficit of $1.3 billion (2.8 percent of exports). This compares with an average deficit of 4.5 percent of exports over the previous five January years, although there were surpluses in the January 2011 and January 2012 years.
Seasonally adjusted exports decrease 15 percent
After adjusting for seasonal effects, the value of exported goods in January 2013 decreased 15 percent ($629 million), compared with December 2012. This follows a 7.9 percent increase in December 2012.
The trend value for merchandise exports is 5.0 percent lower than November 2011, the highest point in the series.
Milk powder, butter, and cheese leads the fall in seasonally adjusted exports
Milk powder, butter, and cheese had the largest decrease in seasonally adjusted exports, down 12 percent ($125 million) in January 2013, following a 9.4 percent rise in December 2012.
Crude oil fell 52 percent ($90 million) compared with December 2012. This series is not seasonally adjusted, and monthly exports of crude oil tend to vary and are affected by the timing of shipments.
Seasonally adjusted fruit exports had the largest offsetting increase, up 20 percent ($16 million).
Trend for logs, wood, and wood articles on the rise
The trend for logs, wood, and wood articles has been increasing for almost a year, and is now 15 percent higher than its most recent low point, of February 2012.
Recent trends for the values of other leading commodity groups:
- Milk powder, butter, and cheese is 4.9 percent lower than its most recent peak, of January 2012, and appears to have been decreasing in recent months. More observations are required to confirm this.
- Meat and edible offal is 10 percent higher than its most recent low point, of March 2012, but is still 4.1 percent lower than its record high, of July 2012.
- Fruit has reached its lowest trend value in the last five years. It is 33 percent lower than the most recent high, of July 2012.
Seasonally adjusted imports increase 1.6 percent
Seasonally adjusted imports rose 1.6 percent ($60 million) to $3.8 billion for the month of January 2013, compared with December 2012. This follows a 6.7 percent ($268 million) decrease in December 2012. Excluding petroleum and products, seasonally adjusted imports fell 0.2 percent in January.
The trend for import values (excluding one-off imports) has been decreasing in recent months. The trend has fallen 3.6 percent since July 2012.
Exchange rate movements
According to the Reserve Bank’s trade weighted index, the New Zealand dollar was 1.3 percent higher in January 2013 than in December 2012, and 5.8 percent higher than in January 2012.
For more detailed data, see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box.