Exports rose $446 million (11 percent) when compared with March 2016 to reach $4.6 billion in March 2017, Stats NZ said.
Exports to China in the March 2017 month were valued at $1.1 billion, up $326 million (43 percent). Milk powder, butter, and cheese (dairy), and lamb led the rise. Dairy rose $114 million and lamb rose $57 million.
“China continues to be our top destination for goods exports, and accounts for a quarter of the total dairy exports value,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “March 2017, exports to China exceeded $1 billion for the first March month since 2014.”
Total dairy exports rose $250 million (29 percent), and the quantity rose 6.4 percent in March 2017.
“March 2017 was the first time for several months that export volumes were higher than in the same month in 2016,” Mr Islam said.
In March 2017, imported goods were valued at $4.3 billion, up $303 million (7.6 percent). The increase was led by cars, up $129 million (35 percent).
The trade balance for March 2017 was a surplus of $332 million (7.1 percent of exports). This compares with an average surplus of 11 percent of exports for the previous five March months.
The annual trade deficit for the year ended March 2017 was $3.7 billion, compared with a $3.8 billion shortfall in the year ended February 2017.
Seasonally adjusted imports rose more than exports in March 2017 quarter
The seasonally adjusted value of imported goods rose 4.4 percent ($577 million), to reach $13.6 billion in the March 2017 quarter when compared with the December 2016 quarter.
The value of exported goods was up 2.4 percent ($281 million), to $12.2 billion.
The trade deficit in the March 2017 quarter was $1.4 billion, equivalent to 11 percent of exports. This quarter’s trade deficit is the 12th consecutive quarterly trade deficit, and the largest since the $1.4 billion deficit in the September 2008 quarter.