Record global butter prices, and higher sales of milk and cream to China, boosted total exports in September 2017, Stats NZ said.
Milk powder, butter, and cheese exports rose $175 million in September 2017 to reach $791 million, up 28 percent on the same month in 2016.
Overall goods exports rose $313 million (9.0 percent) to $3.8 billion, mainly driven by milk powder, butter, and cheese.
Milk fats including butter led the rise in dairy-related sales, up $62 million (43 percent) to $207 million, even though volumes fell. Milk powder (up $58 million), and milk and cream (up $44 million), also contributed to the rise. The average unit price of butter was $8,280 a tonne in September 2017, compared with less than $5,000 a tonne in September 2016.
“The increases in both butter and milk powder were price-driven,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “Milk and cream were mainly volume-driven, especially to China, though prices were up, too.”
Almost 80 percent of milk and cream were exported to China.
Exports of food preparations, including infant formula, were up by $58 million (104 percent) in September. Over half of this commodity was exported to China.
Trade deficit lower in September 2017
Compared with September 2016, imports rose $67 million (1.4 percent) to reach $4.9 billion in September 2017, the second highest imports value on record.
The monthly trade deficit in September 2017 was $1.1 billion (30 percent of exports), $245 million lower than the deficit in September 2016.
Fourteenth consecutive quarterly goods deficit in September 2017
In the September 2017 quarter, there was a seasonally adjusted goods trade deficit of $201 million, Stats NZ said. This was the 14th consecutive quarterly deficit since March 2014.
Source: Stats NZ