Annual imports continue to fall

Imports, especially of fuel and cars, fell sharply in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, while exports held up, leading to a $1.7 billion annual goods trade surplus in the year ended September 2020, Stats NZ said today.

Imports fell $5.9 billion in the September 2020 year. A similar large fall in trade occurred during the global financial crisis more than a decade ago, when both imports and exports dropped. This year, exports have held up well despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Year endedExportsImports
Jan-002382110813727092631877
Feb-002427972417727536796198
Mar-002461505185027923692557
Apr-002492696913228292338761
May-002551460024328783677762
Jun-002611119693829193111954
Jul-002641682507229466319677
Aug-002691468184929897859676
Sep-002731430152130372626647
Oct-002798101741030820378970
Nov-002868507573231171473891
Dec-002925713511330735647052
Jan-012981663338931185188684
Feb-013013338338531152393207
Mar-013053633772931463362788
Apr-013098057163331541230379
May-013164197832431717607022
Jun-013199988587431926735285
Jul-013243809122832278623808
Aug-013270322133832284393592
Sep-013288004014331918074213
Oct-013288927983731996819795
Nov-013276325666931843169416
Dec-013266998320431682158707
Jan-023259507202331984683350
Feb-023263069603032131824250
Mar-023269473970331828634799
Apr-023266096306632141160324
May-023252371467432173552356
Jun-023233165486731810975613
Jul-023212171189131848370788
Aug-023186835538732051056832
Sep-023168170708432163047157
Oct-023142421816532323251364
Nov-023120607329232228750526
Dec-023103373636232337365807
Jan-033081157878832206013495
Feb-033049918120632183829594
Mar-033027137540632168192521
Apr-032999385468531916178708
May-032964561490331962409092
Jun-032929115186632160642959
Jul-032904330661332120430701
Aug-032895700005231776180314
Sep-032873019159031943667221
Oct-032855139548331785706713
Nov-032849111184031630309304
Dec-032839723735631781696583
Jan-042839068424132002049147
Feb-042858444367732099379359
Mar-042859993262532355306160
Apr-042879693905532724163087
May-042943047109932784699893
Jun-042986443625733378110277
Jul-043002814643633442515048
Aug-043009230237433915814213
Sep-043004806383134127720456
Oct-043024666299434141390670
Nov-043046528588634655648740
Dec-043071190650834915468032
Jan-053093153687834857913993
Feb-053107566850635195460444
Mar-053108825735635446325697
Apr-053119786585735501207416
May-053076307866435817968967
Jun-053061790448635792700527
Jul-053057892058935993743755
Aug-053057419295036381649086
Sep-053076994773836538950042
Oct-053073642062436864917462
Nov-053070706529737383583299
Dec-053081730419137278769506
Jan-063076397609237817199628
Feb-063071081461538031830287
Mar-063109772344438160091431
Apr-063131368460438202716475
May-063200930876338939361483
Jun-063243046492939039512606
Jul-063302455760039702925511
Aug-063339648032039925363535
Sep-063386803400940051302179
Oct-063412940181840590321888
Nov-063433773434240385229028
Dec-063463355270140715696590
Jan-073491831894140931589885
Feb-073517049070940937395481
Mar-073530300713441081724647
Apr-073545542358841483679253
May-073516609350841070862495
Jun-073493362129941164511715
Jul-073455393397740898891923
Aug-073448192305540822654004
Sep-073459083699440878150078
Oct-073524169229341129870200
Nov-073582123168841517336792
Dec-073655672212441868503650
Jan-083715634583641953885547
Feb-083800797847442435384472
Mar-083812554161642653394934
Apr-083878231569543386551098
May-083917359259443955277287
Jun-084002814630744506517128
Jul-084081939300645287348377
Aug-084173332980646101914875
Sep-084197335541047021802010
Oct-084243129833847699899949
Nov-084274353900047977858721
Dec-084290022251448514055912
Jan-094298893681348394030820
Feb-094273155183247896811211
Mar-094335287927148037267785
Apr-094316813802947237899258
May-094338934913346383560532
Jun-094302828879146138542061
Jul-094276905394345259769217
Aug-094193916965144298733858
Sep-094158834200743257476870
Oct-094071782100541894273588
Nov-094009820900940961416186
Dec-093967219023040220790546
Jan-103965443601539833007611
Feb-103953286863239866132980
Mar-103955584674339719299426
Apr-103987475684439699878921
May-104010930162440070969034
Jun-104066946933640079320320
Jul-104105016450940468419878
Aug-104143512429540567192442
Sep-104178461445340809831028
Oct-104251255883741256239837
Nov-104311376166041753618513
Dec-104352928854242360478699
Jan-114368121633642771982164
Feb-114422129680743456057333
Mar-114476435971744023677134
Apr-114548974701144251790382
May-114591089753944892268295
Jun-114607227628345072975696
Jul-114622649999144938296489
Aug-114652806984345499885281
Sep-114679823792746103852457
Oct-114700150107646313218364
Nov-114724743084146959593285
Dec-114770175717846895799197
Jan-124812221167647485549010
Feb-124788011289647216714319
Mar-124746822890847201464836
Apr-124665221516447206610464
May-124646457729547314478889
Jun-124668806246347450564902
Jul-124702453204347792413550
Aug-124690258075347791563431
Sep-124674820119747639552005
Oct-124632538194347704326072
Nov-124624485573147634056828
Dec-124606405714647219129634
Jan-134568426423346972307970
Feb-134595934761247025667427
Mar-134616036452546681014999
Apr-134623365565346920160845
May-134587840674246779777119
Jun-134570429013946523629658
Jul-134548812068847193103942
Aug-134547512802147604167795
Sep-134600478384647563957418
Oct-134678209177547796239375
Nov-134739677675147670569642
Dec-134804367010148360348383
Jan-144876483486148502962537
Feb-144940323267648776575947
Mar-145002795872949229650408
Apr-145049145821249396404268
May-145098999281549670423883
Jun-145116113642549972347974
Jul-145101755673049983195484
Aug-145125440192749448971970
Sep-145105341639750386013137
Oct-145082332936050878859069
Nov-145042169579750913280822
Dec-145007464125051258060490
Jan-154968728773051103372911
Feb-154904288622551172081447
Mar-154891514395151287206004
Apr-154864273303551298096213
May-154842305743150975593080
Jun-154839616318151370699181
Jul-154888045300551642899254
Aug-154905745549552445535208
Sep-154911798719952287118096
Oct-154891894718752101356805
Nov-154895271987552647577352
Dec-154897355077652510113770
Jan-164918746608552763865501
Feb-164953761256752831058314
Mar-164883324376352598641020
Apr-164902653618352626475240
May-164923015544652854186182
Jun-164932486424352660152428
Jul-164912160822052077880253
Aug-164879389378651899887630
Sep-164858360424151937571256
Oct-164869630060251943096182
Nov-164849385623451668426698
Dec-164848690407851621003860
Jan-174852768885351900651913
Feb-174830501195452087176794
Mar-174869407673952403502291
Apr-174907614883052588224533
May-174942447230153217606685
Jun-174987349150853530298793
Jul-175052877312753742125258
Aug-175083440132853982204190
Sep-175116004392954085069256
Oct-175179167204154758679676
Nov-175253285958855999083412
Dec-175362548816156475966255
Jan-185396518442057251540961
Feb-185439535568257451179208
Mar-185460296605158070988121
Apr-185486020515158675361932
May-185530407643358981965372
Jun-185549019291659696459421
Jul-185620620158760707605774
Aug-185649333602261387155623
Sep-185695404426162262575720
Oct-185722655863763000561771
Nov-185747059903763026157930
Dec-185725110426563411686834
Jan-195732034120763753428813
Feb-195758393730264298865591
Mar-195838624176464125379333
Apr-195890092429664478844074
May-195929359715764895877241
Jun-195937841255164365619809
Jul-195896330825764479740579
Aug-195905031814164641626564
Sep-195915333144664474655305
Oct-195933056286364385162182
Nov-195968970516364526824510
Dec-195989923628164365870256
Jan-206023243077264159773227
Feb-206041260475163695723762
Mar-206062803732864010136161
Apr-206044759181862840316737
May-206011098253461384690525
Jun-206023035442261361306157
Jul-206033409520060276660621
Aug-206068203283259264717393
Sep-206033156908858621386621

Imports have fallen since February 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak started spreading around the world and international travel restrictions were imposed.

The fall in imports was led by crude oil (down $1.7 billion) and cars (down $1.1 billion). These falls were partly offset by rises in warships (up $395 million, largely driven by the arrival of Navy ship HMNZS Aotearoa in June 2020), face masks (up $216 million), and laptops (up $133 million).

“New Zealand imported more face masks in the wake of the global pandemic,” senior insights analyst Nicholas Cox said.

“Imports of laptops also rose, as more people worked from home during the lockdowns earlier in the year.”

Dairy, beef, and gold kiwifruit lead rise in exports

The total value of goods exports for the September 2020 year rose $1.2 billion from 2019.

The rise in annual exports was led by milk powder, butter, and cheese (up $1.4 billion), beef (up $433 million), and gold kiwifruit (up $377 million).

“New Zealand also exported more breathing equipment, which is in high demand worldwide because of COVID-19,” Mr Cox said.

Exports of respiration apparatus rose $348 million in the September 2020 year.

Annual trade surplus

The goods trade surplus for the September 2020 year was $1.7 billion, the largest surplus since 2014, when dairy prices were at very high levels.

“For most of the past 20 years, New Zealand had a goods trade shortfall, importing much more than it exports,” Mr Cox said.

“The goods trade surplus in September 2020 is unusually high because of the rapid drop in imports since February.”

Year ended$
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-2057434579
Aug-201417315439
Sep-201710182467

/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.