Fast Facts

High butter prices boost exports

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

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