The value of total goods exports fell 10 percent in January 2021 from January 2020, to $4.2 billion, led by falls in dairy and meat, Stats NZ said today.
“The fall in exports of $486 million was the largest year-on-year fall in exports since March of 2016,” international trade manager Alasdair Allen said.
The fall in exports was led by a drop in dairy products with milk powder, down $97 million, butter, down $62 million, and whey, down $31 million from January 2020.
“The drop in dairy exports was partly due to a fall in quantity for whey products to one of New Zealand’s top export trading markets, the United States. Exports of dairy were the largest fall for the US in January 2021, specifically exports of whey,” Mr Allen said.
“This is the fifth consecutive month this season where monthly dairy exports were lower than the corresponding month a year ago.
“China was the only one of our top trading partners to see a rise in January.”
Following a $194 million fall in milk powder, butter, and cheese to China last month, there was an $89 million rise in January 2021. This was led by a $57 million increase in milk powder exports compared with the previous January.
New Zealand’s second-largest export commodity group, meat, also had a large drop, down $141 million (18 percent) in January 2021.
Exporters of New Zealand meat sold less for a lower price.
Sheep meat exports fell $69 million (17 percent) while beef exports fell $69 million (20 percent), with the falls largely price driven. There was also a drop in quantities for both exports.
China and the US had some of the largest falls in meat exports, both seeing drops in beef export prices.
“The $64 million fall in preparations of milk, cereals, flour, and starch (largely infant formula) was another notable contributor to the major fall in export commodities,” Mr. Allen said.
Monthly trade balance
The monthly trade balance in January 2021 was a deficit of $626 million. The previous four January months all had deficits.