March 26, 2020


New Zealand's dairy gains help export increase


The value of New Zealand's total goods exports rose by NZ$212 million (4.5%) from February 2019 to reach NZ$4.9 billion in February 2020, due to an increase in the value of dairy products, according to Stats NZ.


Statistics released offer some insight into how COVID-19 is affecting the country's primary exports.


"This month's total goods exports were up on the same month of 2019, led by dairy exports, in particular milk powder," says Stats NZ international statistics manager, Darren Allan. "Dairy product exports to China remained high, but logs, meat, and fish exports were lower."


The rise in total goods exports was led by milk powder, up NZ$191 million (28%) from February 2019. This was price-led as quantities were little changed.


The total value of meat exports was changed little, but higher quantities were exported to the US instead of China.


Overall, meat export values fell slightly in February 2020 (down 1.4%), with a fall in sheep meat partly offset by a rise in beef.


Average prices per tonne were up for both beef and lamb, despite lower total export volumes for both commodities.


In February 2020, New Zealand exported less beef to China than in the same month last year, but more was shipped to the US.


"The value of monthly beef exports to the US was higher than to China for the first time since early 2019," Allan said.


"Higher quantities of New Zealand beef exports were sent to the US, rather than China, following the COVID-19 outbreak in China."


In contrast to rises in exports to all New Zealand's other main markets, exports to China fell NZ$120 million in February 2020.


Among the leading contributors to the fall in exports to China were beef (down NZ$65 million) and fish (down NZ$40 million).


These falls were offset by a rise in milk powder, up NZ$90 million on February 2019. This was led by a 30% increase in average unit values. The quantity exported also rose, up 13%.