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China resumes place as New Zealand’s top destination for exports

China resumed its place as New Zealand’s top export destination in October, with growing demand for milk powder, meat and kiwi fruit, the government statistics agency said Thursday.

The resurgence of the China market helped to mitigate New Zealand’s rising trade deficit, which hit NZ$963 million dollars ($635.39 million) last month, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The number was up from NZ$892 million in October 2014.

Total exports fell more than imports, as the falling demand and value of dairy products, New Zealand’s biggest export commodity, drove down total exports by 4.5 percent year on year to NZ$3.8 billion.

Goods exports to China rose by 9.2 percent, or by NZ$57 million, to move China ahead of Australia as the top annual export destination.

Goods exports to Australia fell by 8 percent, or NZ$66 million.

China first became New Zealand’s top export destination in November 2013, but fell below Australia from March to September this year, international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said.

China was now both the top export destination for goods, and the top source of imports.

Although milk powder exported to China fell 65 percent for the year ended October, it was still the largest commodity, while smaller exports such as beef and fruit had doubled in value in the past year.

“Since annual exports to China fell from their peak in 2014, exports to China and Australia have been around NZ$8.4 billion,” Attewell said in a statement.

Attewell noted that annual exports to Australia peaked in January 2012, but have been generally falling since, due to lower crude oil exports.

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TravelNZChina resumes place as New Zealand’s top destination for exports