The value of dairy product exports in September 2020 fell from the same month in 2019, Stats NZ said.
The fall was price-led, as the overall quantity of dairy products exported rose over the same period.
“New Zealand exported a greater volume of dairy products in September 2020 than in the same month last year, but received less in return,” senior insights analyst Nicholas Cox said.
“September is typically a low point in the export season for dairy products.”
“Global dairy auction prices were slightly weaker in July and August, before recovering somewhat since early September.”
Milk powder, butter, and cheese exports fell $97 million this month, led by falls in milk fats including butter (down $35 million), and milk powder (down $31 million).
“The falls in butter and milk powder were price-driven, as the export volumes for both commodities were higher in 2020, by 8.0 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively,” Mr Cox said.
Preparations of milk, cereals, flour, and starch (which include infant formula) fell $53 million (26 percent) in value and 29 percent in quantity.
In September 2020, total goods exports were down $350 million (8.0 percent) to $4.0 billion. Crude oil led the fall, down $110 million. It is not uncommon to see large changes in crude oil exports due to the timing of shipments leaving New Zealand.
The value of total goods imports in September 2020 fell $643 million (11 percent) from September 2019, driven by a fall in cars. Since March 2020, total imports have been falling when compared with the same month of the previous year.
“Monthly car imports fell sharply in April and May as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world,” Mr Cox said.
“In September 2020 car imports were down $110 million on the same month last year, but monthly values have been recovering from the low levels seen four months ago.”
Other contributors to the fall in imports in September 2020 were aircraft and parts (down $117 million), turbo-jets and propellers parts (down $56 million), and cell phones (down $37 million).
“The falls in imports were partly offset by small rises in some commodities, most notably laptops, up $27 million,” Mr Cox said.
“The ongoing demand for laptops has coincided with more people working from home during COVID-19 lockdowns.”
Imports were down in September from all of New Zealand’s major trading partners, led by Japan (down $155 million), mainly due to lower imports of cars. Imports from the EU fell $133 million due to a fall in aircraft and parts, the US fell $128 million due to mechanical machinery and equipment, and China fell $113 million, led by a fall in cell phones.
The monthly trade balance in September 2020 was a deficit of $1.0 billion, which is equivalent to 25 percent of total exports. The average deficit in the previous five September months was $1.3 billion.