Annual goods trade surplus at 28-year high

New Zealand’s annual goods trade surplus reached a 28-year high of $2.2 billion as imports tumbled in the year ended October 2020, Stats NZ said today.

“This is the largest annual surplus since the July 1992 year, driven mainly by much lower imports after the global COVID-19 pandemic hit, while New Zealand’s exports have held up,” international trade manager Alasdair Allen said.

Annual imports fell $6.5 billion (10 percent) to $58 billion in the year ended October 2020. In the same period exports rose $734 million (1.2 percent) to $60 billion.

“Imports are down in part because of restrictions on international and domestic travel imposed in March to slow the spread of the pandemic,” Mr Allen said.

“That can be seen in the big drops in annual imports of things like turbojets, fuel, and cars.”

In contrast, annual exports for some key goods such as dairy products and fruit are higher than a year ago, though seafood and forestry export values are lower.

Year ended$
Jan-90-92638063
Feb-90-205188627
Mar-90-269600870
Apr-90-386033537
May-90-639777234
Jun-90-606959985
Jul-90-548666370
Aug-90-483471967
Sep-90-550974001
Oct-90-435711966
Nov-90-556344329
Dec-90-135462650
Jan-91-79790735
Feb-91-34360567
Mar-91170282
Apr-91139413616
May-91401343506
Jun-91443288865
Jul-91637023920
Aug-91868662444
Sep-911136739344
Oct-911295146683
Nov-911948075423
Dec-912145316954
Jan-922147496102
Feb-921830385773
Mar-922049043080
Apr-922293304390
May-922325555587
Jun-922356870459
Jul-922246029956
Aug-922082850265
Sep-921621670933
Oct-921571471465
Nov-921180670534
Dec-921077339536
Jan-931165376123
Feb-931622423571
Mar-931666104522
Apr-931589421445
May-931639084465
Jun-931638455013
Jul-931555249422
Aug-931412203405
Sep-931734161619
Oct-931780122955
Nov-931775357849
Dec-931710334065
Jan-941689936994
Feb-941692817915
Mar-941580012963
Apr-941562615311
May-941538031496
Jun-941358196132
Jul-941341160457
Aug-941391010817
Sep-941286548186
Oct-94966124152
Nov-94495050606
Dec-94537919937
Jan-95503961803
Feb-95509101691
Mar-95277214612
Apr-9557103252
May-95-421536522
Jun-95-470538794
Jul-95-546068057
Aug-95-600852107
Sep-95-705993688
Oct-95-577690094
Nov-95-322973564
Dec-95-463771952
Jan-96-749363224
Feb-96-1007391590
Mar-96-995823319
Apr-96-997747582
May-96-642622305
Jun-96-806744565
Jul-96-709469016
Aug-96-825024074
Sep-96-845571749
Oct-96-771045192
Nov-96-568690734
Dec-96-522922806
Jan-97-397000071
Feb-97-305897465
Mar-97-463746850
Apr-97-505878271
May-97-431703061
Jun-97-290433371
Jul-97-645624112
Aug-97-358378013
Sep-97-331664425
Oct-97-427827770
Nov-97-423084295
Dec-97-506129847
Jan-98-316193342
Feb-98-360926434
Mar-98-408750886
Apr-98-427499544
May-98-526201226
Jun-98-647954170
Jul-98-259503654
Aug-98-416302147
Sep-98-360520265
Oct-98-522342968
Nov-98-885816323
Dec-98-932134829
Jan-99-1255959286
Feb-99-1324088726
Mar-99-1212555083
Apr-99-1235003491
May-99-1450679466
Jun-99-1666605899
Jul-99-1729486464
Aug-99-1914032447
Sep-99-2246436152
Oct-99-2254697727
Nov-99-2554492803
Dec-99-3530697872
Jan-00-3271523740
Feb-00-3257072021
Mar-00-3308640707
Apr-00-3365369629
May-00-3269077519
Jun-00-3081915016
Jul-00-3049494605
Aug-00-2983177827
Sep-00-3058325126
Oct-00-2839361560
Nov-00-2486398159
Dec-00-1478511939
Jan-01-1368555295
Feb-01-1019009822
Mar-01-927025059
Apr-01-560658746
May-01-75628698
Jun-0173150589
Jul-01159467420
Aug-01418827746
Sep-01961965930
Oct-01892460042
Nov-01920087253
Dec-01987824497
Jan-02610388673
Feb-02498871780
Mar-02866104904
Apr-02519802742
May-02350162318
Jun-02520679254
Jul-02273341103
Aug-02-182701445
Sep-02-481340073
Oct-02-899033199
Nov-02-1022677234
Dec-02-1303629445
Jan-03-1394434707
Feb-03-1684648388
Mar-03-1896817115
Apr-03-1922324023
May-03-2316794189
Jun-03-2869491093
Jul-03-3077124088
Aug-03-2819180262
Sep-03-3213475631
Oct-03-3234311230
Nov-03-3139197464
Dec-03-3384459227
Jan-04-3611364906
Feb-04-3514935682
Mar-04-3755373535
Apr-04-3927224032
May-04-3354228794
Jun-04-3513674020
Jul-04-3414368612
Aug-04-3823511839
Sep-04-4079656625
Oct-04-3894727676
Nov-04-4190362854
Dec-04-4203561524
Jan-05-3926377115
Feb-05-4119791938
Mar-05-4358068341
Apr-05-4303341559
May-05-5054890303
Jun-05-5174796041
Jul-05-5414823166
Aug-05-5807456136
Sep-05-5769002304
Oct-05-6128496838
Nov-05-6676518002
Dec-05-6461465315
Jan-06-7053223536
Feb-06-7321015672
Mar-06-7062367987
Apr-06-6889031871
May-06-6930052720
Jun-06-6609047677
Jul-06-6678367911
Aug-06-6528883215
Sep-06-6183268170
Oct-06-6460920070
Nov-06-6047494686
Dec-06-6082143889
Jan-07-6013270944
Feb-07-5766904772
Mar-07-5778717513
Apr-07-6028255665
May-07-5904768987
Jun-07-6230890416
Jul-07-6344957946
Aug-07-6340730949
Sep-07-6287313084
Oct-07-5888177907
Nov-07-5696105104
Dec-07-5311781526
Jan-08-4797539711
Feb-08-4427405998
Mar-08-4527853318
Apr-08-4604235403
May-08-4781684693
Jun-08-4478370821
Jul-08-4467955371
Aug-08-4368585069
Sep-08-5048446600
Oct-08-5268601611
Nov-08-5234319721
Dec-08-5613833398
Jan-09-5405094007
Feb-09-5165259379
Mar-09-4684388514
Apr-09-4069761229
May-09-2994211399
Jun-09-3110253270
Jul-09-2490715274
Aug-09-2359564207
Sep-09-1669134863
Oct-09-1176452583
Nov-09-863207177
Dec-09-548600316
Jan-10-178571596
Feb-10-333264348
Mar-10-163452683
Apr-10174877923
May-1038332590
Jun-10590149016
Jul-10581744631
Aug-10867931853
Sep-10974783425
Oct-101256319000
Nov-101360143147
Dec-101168809843
Jan-11909234172
Feb-11765239474
Mar-11740682583
Apr-111237956629
May-111018629244
Jun-11999300587
Jul-111288203502
Aug-111028184562
Sep-11694385470
Oct-11688282712
Nov-11287837556
Dec-11805957981.3
Jan-12636662666.3
Feb-12663398577.3
Mar-12266764072.3
Apr-12-554395299.7
May-12-849901593.7
Jun-12-762502438.7
Jul-12-767881506.7
Aug-12-888982677.7
Sep-12-891350807.7
Oct-12-1378944129
Nov-12-1389201097
Dec-12-1155072488
Jan-13-1288043737
Feb-13-1066319815
Mar-13-520650474
Apr-13-686505192
May-13-901370377
Jun-13-819339519
Jul-13-1704983254
Aug-13-2129039774
Sep-13-1559173572
Oct-13-1014147600
Nov-13-273792891
Dec-13-316678282
Jan-14261872324
Feb-14626656729
Mar-14798308321
Apr-141095053944
May-141319568932
Jun-141188788451
Jul-141034361246
Aug-141805429957
Sep-14667403260
Oct-14-55529709
Nov-14-491585025
Dec-14-1183419240
Jan-15-1416085181
Feb-15-2129195222
Mar-15-2372062053
Apr-15-2655363178
May-15-2552535649
Jun-15-2974536000
Jul-15-2762446249
Aug-15-3388079713
Sep-15-3169130897
Oct-15-3182409618
Nov-15-3694857477
Dec-15-3536562994
Jan-16-3576399416
Feb-16-3293445747
Mar-16-3765397257
Apr-16-3599939057
May-16-3624030736
Jun-16-3335288185
Jul-16-2956272033
Aug-16-3105993844
Sep-16-3353967015
Oct-16-3246795580
Nov-16-3174570464
Dec-16-3134099782
Jan-17-3372963060
Feb-17-3782164840
Mar-17-3709425552
Apr-17-3512075703
May-17-3793134384
Jun-17-3656807285
Jul-17-3213352131
Aug-17-3147802862
Sep-17-2925025327
Oct-17-2967007635
Nov-17-3466223824
Dec-17-2850478094
Jan-18-3286356541
Feb-18-3055823526
Mar-18-3468022070
Apr-18-3815156781
May-18-3677888939
Jun-18-4206266505
Jul-18-4501404187
Aug-18-4893819601
Sep-18-5308531459
Oct-18-5774003134
Nov-18-5555558893
Dec-18-6160582569
Jan-19-6433087606
Feb-19-6714928289
Mar-19-5739137569
Apr-19-5577919778
May-19-5602280084
Jun-19-4987207258
Jul-19-5516432322
Aug-19-5591308423
Sep-19-5321323859
Oct-19-5054599319
Nov-19-4837119347
Dec-19-4466633975
Jan-20-3927342455
Feb-20-3283119011
Mar-20-3382098833
Apr-20-2392724919
May-20-1273707991
Jun-20-1130951735
Jul-2026054535
Aug-201368534880
Sep-201653293355
Oct-202190945362

Monthly imports drop in October

Imports fell $759 million (13 percent) to $5.3 billion in October 2020 compared with October 2019, led by mechanical machinery and equipment.

Imports typically rise in the months leading up to the Christmas holiday period.

“Monthly imports reached an unusually low point in May this year after the first COVID-19 lockdown, but have generally risen since then, showing a typical seasonal pattern,” Mr Allen said.

Month$
Jan-174162092352
Feb-174056794611
Mar-174327905303
Apr-174162562494
May-174844068801
Jun-174448670162
Jul-174528608020
Aug-174862568139
Sep-174957218173
Oct-175395869121
Nov-175835575719
Dec-174894033360
Jan-184937667058
Feb-184256432858
Mar-184947714216
Apr-184766936305
May-185150672241
Jun-185163164211
Jul-185539754373
Aug-185542117988
Sep-185832638270
Oct-186133855172
Nov-185861171878
Dec-185279562264
Jan-195279409037
Feb-194801869636
Mar-194774227958
Apr-195120401046
May-195567705408
Jun-194632906779
Jul-195653875143
Aug-195704003973
Sep-195665667011
Oct-196044362049
Nov-196002834206
Dec-195118608010
Jan-205073312008
Feb-204337820171
Mar-205088640357
Apr-203950581622
May-204112079196
Jun-204609522411
Jul-204569258728
Aug-204691697631
Sep-205034333229
Oct-205285168832

In October 2020, car imports rose to almost $400 million in the month, continuing a recovery from low levels in April. Imports of cars and trucks dropped sharply in April and May as COVID-19 disrupted both the international supply chain and the local demand for new vehicles, with car dealerships closed during the level 4 lockdown which ran until 27 April.

Exports continue to fall in October

Exports fell $222 million (4.4 percent) to $4.8 billion in October 2020 compared with October 2019, with dairy products and meat down in the same period last year.

Monthly exports typically start rising at this time of year after a low point in August, but this year the increase has been smaller than usual. The biggest falls in October 2020 were milk powder, butter, and cheese, down $198 million, and meat, down $112 million, reflecting lower values for sheep meat. Both values and quantities were down for dairy products and meat in October 2020, compared with the same month last year.

The falls in some exports were partly offset by a rise in log exports (up $108 million).

Aircraft and parts exports were up $69 million on the same month last year. This year, aircraft have been sent to the United States for long-term storage as New Zealand’s border closure restricts international travel. Exports of breathing equipment were also up in October.

Monthly trade balance

The monthly trade balance in October 2020 was a deficit of $501 million. The average trade balance for the previous five October months was a deficit of $977 million.

/Stats NZ Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.