Meat and edible offal led an increase in exports for the March 2014 quarter, according to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand.
The seasonally adjusted value of exported goods rose 2.1 percent to $13.6 billion in the March 2014 quarter, following rises in the previous two quarters.
“Meat and fruit led the increase in seasonally adjusted exports,” international statistics manager Jason Attewell says. “This is the second consecutive quarter that both values and quantities for these two commodities have risen.”
Meat and edible offal, which was New Zealand’s second-largest export commodity group, was the main contributor to the rise in seasonally adjusted exports in the quarter, led by sheepmeat. Values rose 8.7 percent to $1.5 billion and quantities went up by 6.8 percent. This follows a rise of 4.4 percent in value in the December 2013 quarter.
The trend for meat and edible offal has been increasing, says Statistics NZ, and has reached a new high. It is now 4.8 percent higher than the previous record high, which was in June 2011.
Fruit values rose 27 percent, and quantities rose 20 percent.
The rise in meat and fruit was offset slightly by a fall in milk powder, butter, and cheese, down 2.4 percent. The fall in dairy follows 26 percent increases in both the September and December 2013 quarters. Despite the small fall this quarter, dairy remains at high levels and is the leading contributor (31 percent) to total exports.
Imports rose 1.5 percent to $12.5 billion in the March 2014 quarter. The increase was led by a rise in capital goods.
The seasonally adjusted trade balance for the March 2014 quarter was a surplus of $1.1 billion. This follows a surplus of $986 million in the December 2013 quarter.
Monthly exports pass $5 billion for the first time
Exports rose $671 million in the March month, to $5.1 billion. Milk powder, butter, and cheese led the rise in exports, up $474 million (45 percent) compared with March 2013.
“This is the first time monthly exports have exceeded $5 billion, and annual exports have exceeded $50 billion,” says Attewell. “Record dairy exports pushed the values past these thresholds.”
Imports rose $483 million (13 percent) to $4.2 billion, which was influenced by a one-off large capital item. The trade surplus was $920 million. This is the highest recorded surplus for a March month.