Kiwifruit exports rose $197 million (82 per cent) in April 2018 compared with April 2017, to reach $438 million, says Stats NZ. This is a new high for any month.
The rise in kiwifruit exports was the leading contributor to a $345 million rise (7.3 per cent) in overall goods exports, which reached $5.1 billion.
This is the second-highest for any month – the highest level was $5.5 billion in December 2017.
“Kiwifruit exports were up for all New Zealand’s principal kiwifruit markets – China, the European Union, and Japan,” says international statistics manager Tehseen Islam.
“In April, the first month of the export season, the gold variety made up nearly three-quarters of the total value of kiwifruit exports.”
Across all markets, gold kiwifruit was up $148 million (86 per cent) in value compared with April 2017, led by an $85 million increase to China.
Green kiwifruit also rose (up $50 million or 83 per cent), led by a $25 million increase to the European Union.
The other main contributors to April’s export rise were meat and edible offal (up $94 million), and milk powder, butter, and cheese (up $68 million).
Lamb (up $42 million) led the rise in meat exports, closely followed by beef (up $41 million). Lamb exports rose because of higher prices, with a slight fall in quantity; in contrast, beef exports rose because of a higher quantity, with a slight fall in prices.
Butter led the rise in dairy exports (up $46 million), partly reflecting higher prices than in April 2017.
Fuel leads imports rise
Goods imports rose $629 million (15 percent) to reach $4.8 billion, a new high for total imports in an April month. The leading contributor to the rise was an increased value of petroleum and products (up $221 million or 56 percent), led by crude oil (up $130 million).
Imports of crude oil and other petroleum products tend to fluctuate from month to month. The quantity of crude oil imported in April 2018 rose 23 per cent from April 2017, but prices also rose – an estimated 28 per cent.
Vehicles, parts, and accessories (up $179 million), and mechanical machinery and equipment (up $108 million) were the other main contributors to the imports rise.
The monthly trade balance in April 2018 was a surplus of $263 million (5.2 per cent of exports), lower than the average monthly surplus in the last five April months ($344 million).
Annual exports of kiwifruit in the year ended April 2018 were $1.9 billion, up $153 million (9.0 per cent) from the year ended April 2017.