More log exports despite falling prices

New Zealand exported more logs and wood in June 2019, despite falling log prices overseas, Stats NZ said.

In June 2019, the value of all goods exports rose $136 million (2.8 percent) from June 2018 to reach $5.0 billion.

Exports of logs and wood led the rise in exports, up $65 million (16 percent) from June 2018 to $472 million in June 2019. These commodities are the third-largest goods export group, behind milk powder, butter, and cheese ($1.1 billion) and meat and edible offal ($678 million).

The rise in logs and wood was led by untreated logs, up $55 million (20 percent) on a year earlier. The quantity rose 26 percent and unit values fell 4.6 percent.

“The average value of untreated log exports fell to $163 a cubic metre in June (2019), down from a recent high of $177 in February (2019),” international statistics manager Geraldine Duoba said.

New Zealand exports of untreated logs to China were worth about $3.0 billion in the past year, or 80 percent of the $3.8 billion in total untreated log exports.

Of New Zealand’s main export markets, China had the largest increase in exports, up $297 million (27 percent) from June 2018 to $1.4 billion in June 2019. The rise was led by beef, milk powder, and untreated logs.

“Strong growth in exports to China continues to offset a slowdown in the value of sales to other key markets such as Australia and the EU,” Geraldine Duoba said.

“China is New Zealand’s largest goods export market, making up 28 percent of all goods exports, and the fastest growing of our main export markets.”

Fuel leads fall in imports

Imports of fuel (down $328 million) led a fall in goods imports of $515 million (10 percent) to $4.6 billion in June 2019 compared with June 2018. This is the lowest level for imports since the $4.3 billion recorded in February 2018.

The fall in fuel value was quantity driven, down 69 percent from June 2018. Fuel quantities and values in June 2018 were the highest for any month on record. In 2018 there was a planned maintenance shutdown of the Marsden Point oil refinery (see 2018 shutdown all done) from end of March to mid-June. As a result, fuel imports for that period were unusually high, especially in May and June 2018.

In contrast, crude oil was little changed in both values and quantities this month, compared with the same month in 2018.

Vehicles, parts, and accessories also added to the fall (down $130 million) driven by motor cars (down $67 million).

Trade surplus for June 2019 month

The monthly trade balance was a surplus of $365 million. This is the fourth surplus in a row.

Source: Stats NZ

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