Increase in imported goods values drives trade deficit

New Zealand recorded a trade deficit of $6.3 billion in the September 2021 quarter, following a surplus of $548 million in the June 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today.


Trade goods values for exports fell $2.7 billion to a total of $14 billion in the September 2021 quarter, while goods values for imports rose $3.2 billion to a record total of $19 billion.

In the same period, prices increased for both import goods (up 3.8 percent) and export goods (up 4.6 percent), leading to a 0.7 percent quarterly increase in the terms of trade. Seasonally adjusted volumes for import goods rose 3.4 percent on the previous quarter, while export volumes fell 3.0 percent.

Volumes and prices contribute to record rise in imports values

The rise in values for imported goods was led by increases for mechanical machinery and equipment (up $373 million), electrical machinery and equipment (up $211 million), and petroleum and products (up $207 million).

Non-electrical machinery-1.118.3
Electrical machinery and apparatus0.514.5
Petroleum and petroleum products14.80.2

“In many cases, rising import values can be attributed to increased import volumes, as seen for electrical and non-electrical machinery,” business prices delivery manager James Mitchell said.

“Elsewhere, price changes have driven increasing values, as with petroleum and petroleum products, where prices rose while volumes held steady.”

Dairy products lead fall in export values

Export values fell for dairy products (down $1.4 billion to $2.9 billion) and meat (down $509 million to $1.8 billion) in the September 2021 quarter. These falls were partly offset by increasing values for wine (up $235 million) and fish, crustaceans, and molluscs (up $85 million).

In the same period, export prices rose 4.6 percent, led by increasing prices for dairy products (up 7.1 percent) and meat products (up 10.8 percent).

“Dairy and meat export values tend to fall in the September quarter as the dairy, beef, and lamb seasons end and export volumes fall,” international trade manager Alasdair Allen said.

“This year, the September quarter dairy volumes are lower than might be expected at this time of year, while meat volumes are higher.”

Service imports rise led by sea transport

Services import values rose $514 million to $5.1 billion in the September 2021 quarter. Transportation imports increased $321 million to $1.3 billion, led by a $318 million rise in sea transport.

Prices for imported transportation services rose 2.3 percent on the previous quarter, following two consecutive quarters of strong price rises.


“Price increases for imported transportation services explain only a small portion of the rise in imported sea transport values,” Mr Allen said.

“The rest is explained by increasing volumes, which may include elevated demand for shipping.”

Services exports fall as travel bubble closes

Services export values fell $429 million to $3.4 billion in the September 2021 quarter. Travel services fell $265 million, as the travel bubble with Australia closed in July.

/Stats NZ Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.