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Touching New High in May, New Zealand’s Exports Cross $7 Billion

Increased wine and meat shipments to the United States drove New Zealand’s overall exports past $7 billion in May, setting a new monthly record. Stats NZ reported a $204 million trade surplus in May. The previous record for any month’s total exports was $6.95 billion in May 2023.

Although high exports and a surplus were projected for May, a bank economist noted the surplus disclosed today exceeded expectations. Total exports to the United States increased by $255 million from a year before, hitting $1 billion.

Beef shipments to China fell 45% from the previous year, but rose 21% to the United States.
In the fiscal year ending May 31, total exports to the United States were $8.8 billion, while total imports from the United States were $7.3 billion.

“Both exports and imports were a little bit stronger than we expected,” said Westpac senior economist Darren Gibbs. According to the speaker, goods exports were a positive aspect of last week’s GDP figures. GDP increased by 0.2% in the March 2024 quarter, but per capita fell by 0.3%.

“Most of our trading partners are doing quite a bit better than we’re doing,” Mr. Gibbs said.
In the fiscal year ended May 31, beef exports to the United States were worth $1.7 billion, wine was worth $789 million, and sheep meat was worth $609 million. The US was the primary export market for New Zealand wine. The United Kingdom was the second largest market for wine exports, with $448 million, followed by Australia, which had $368 million.

He said the most recent China export figures reflected a mix of weak Chinese demand, increased Chinese self-sufficiency in several core items, and stiff competition from Australian lamb producers. “May months are typically a peak time for exports, being the height of the fruit season, as well as strong periods for meat, dairy, and vegetable exports,” Stats NZ international trade manager Alasdair Allen explained.

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