An increase in meat exports has contributed to New Zealand earning $2.5 billion more from exports than was spent on imports during the year ended December 2015, according to the latest figures from Statistics NZ.
Total exports of goods and services were $69.3 billion for 2015, while imports were $66.9 billion.
Total exports rose $1.9 billion from 2014, driven by a $2.3 billion rise in spending by international visitors and a $895 million increase in the export returns of meat products in 2015. Dairy exports, though remaining New Zealand’s top export earner, fell by $3 billion in the latest year.
The growth in earnings from meat and travel was driven by key export markets – including China, the US and the European Union (EU), Statistics NZ says.
Further analysis from the Meat Industry Association reveals that the growth in meat exports mainly came from beef, which rose by 11 percent in volume (443,142 tonnes) and 32 percent in value ($3.3 billion) during the period. Volume exports of beef to China, still New Zealand’s second largest beef market, lifted by 78 percent to 74,147 tonnes and rose by 125 percent in value to $523 million in the year to end December 2015. Beef exports to the number one market, the US, rose by 10 percent and at $1.6 billion were worth 33 percent more than the previous year. Other key beef markets to achieve good growth were Taiwan, up 36 percent in value on the previous year, and Canada – worth 98 percent more than during the year ending December 2014.
Meanwhile, exports of sheepmeat around the globe rose in volume terms by one percent overall to 398,907 tonnes during the 2015 year to end December, while value lifted by two percent to export receipts of just over $3 billion. In value terms, the biggest fall for sheepmeat was in the number one market China (-18 percent), but double digit growth was achieved in the US (up 24 percent), Germany (+17 percent) and the Netherlands (+19 percent) among other markets.
For the year ended December 2015, the EU was NZ’s largest source of imports, followed by Australia and China, Statistics NZ reports. The largest import expense related to electrical machinery and equipment from China.