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Dairy pushes export volumes to their highest level

Both seasonally adjusted dairy and total export volumes in the December 2011 quarter were at their highest levels since the series began in 1990, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“Seasonally adjusted export volumes rose 2.9 percent in the December 2011 quarter. The rise was mainly due to dairy products, such as milk powder,” industry and labour statistics manager Neil Kelly said.

Seasonally adjusted import volumes fell 2.1 percent in the latest quarter, but remain at a relatively high level. Intermediate goods (used as inputs for producing other goods) and consumption goods were the major contributors to the fall. Partly offsetting these decreases was an increase in capital goods (tangible assets used to produce goods or services).

In the December 2011 quarter, prices for exported goods rose 1.7 percent, reflecting price changes for:

  • meat (up 3.4 percent)
  • fruit (up 9.6 percent)
  • dairy (down 1.1 percent).

Prices for imported goods rose 3.2 percent, reflecting price increases for:

  • petroleum and petroleum products (up 3.9 percent)
  • mechanical machinery (up 3.7 percent)
  • transport equipment (up 3.2 percent)
  • food and beverages (up 3.3 percent).

The merchandise terms of trade fell 1.4 percent in the December 2011 quarter due to export prices rising less than import prices. The latest fall means that in the December 2011 quarter, 1.4 percent less merchandise imports could be funded by a fixed quantity of merchandise exports than in the September 2011 quarter.

In the December 2011 quarter, the trade weighted index of the New Zealand dollar (published by the Reserve Bank) fell 4.6 percent. A depreciating New Zealand dollar tends to push up export and import prices.

The price and volume indexes for exports and imports of goods are compiled mainly from overseas merchandise trade data.