Quarterly exports to China overtake exports to Australia

Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 April 2013
See also:
Overseas Merchandise Trade: March 2013  –  for more data and analysis

Overseas Merchandise Trade: March 2013  –  Media Release

China overtook Australia as our top export destination for the first time in the March 2013 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Overseas merchandise trade figures for the March 2013 quarter show goods exported to China were valued at $2.3 billion. Exports to Australia were valued at $2.2 billion. January 2013 was the first month in which exports to China have surpassed exports to Australia. This continued for every month of the quarter. Values by country of destination are not seasonally adjusted.

"Twenty percent of goods exported from New Zealand went to China in the March 2013 quarter," industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. "This compares with 15 percent in the same quarter last year."

Seasonally adjusted March 2013 quarter

The seasonally adjusted value of exported goods rose 0.8 percent in the March 2013 quarter. This follows a fall of 2.9 percent in the December 2012 quarter. Milk powder, butter, and cheese led the increase in the March 2013 quarter – values were up 3.5 percent, and quantities were up 3.6 percent.

The seasonally adjusted value of imported goods decreased 0.2 percent in the March 2013 quarter, following a 1.6 percent fall in the December 2012 quarter.

The seasonally adjusted trade balance for the March 2013 quarter was a surplus of $52 million, equivalent to 0.4 percent of exports. This follows a deficit of $59 million in the December 2012 quarter.

March 2013 month

For the March 2013 month, export values increased $213 million (5.1 percent), compared with March 2012, and imports decreased $319 million (7.9 percent). The trade balance for the March 2013 month was a surplus of $718 million (16 percent of exports). This compares with an average deficit of $354 million (8.3 percent) of exports over the previous five March months.

New Zealand's international trade

New Zealand's international trade is made up of trade in both goods and services. Overseas merchandise trade statistics measure the goods component of international trade. For a complete picture, this release should be viewed together with international trade in services figures, which are released as part of Balance of Payments and International Investment Position.

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Authorised by:

Louise Holmes-Oliver 
Christchurch 03 964 8700
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

Published 26 April 2013

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician