Exports surged 25.7 percent year-on-year to 5,551 NZD million, gaining steam after a downwardly revised 19.0 percent increase in November and nudged mainly by milk powder, butter & cheese (+30.3 percent vs +21.7 percent in November), offsetting a lower rate of growth in meat & edible offal (+46.6 percent vs +47.2 percent) and logs, woods & wood articles (+27.4 percent vs 50.5 percent). In addition, crude oil rebounded a sharp 109.4 percent following a 70.0 percent decline in the previous month. Aluminum (+83.4 percent vs -47.6 percent) and fruit (+19.8 percent vs -27.7 percent) also rebounded sharply. By destination, exports were nudged by Japan (+42.7 percent), China (+28.4), the European Union (+17.9), and the United States (+17.9 percent).
Imports increased by 11.2 percent year-on-year to 4,911 NZD million, losing momentum after a 27.1 percent climb in the previous month. Purchases of aircraft & parts declined a sharp 32.5 percent, while vehicles, part & accessories fell 3.9 percent. In contrast, imports of plastic & plastic articles jumped by 22.2 percent and those of mechanical machinery & equipment by 21.1 percent. By country of origin, imports from the United States rose by a sharp 94.7 percent after only climbing 11.3 percent in the previous month. Imports from the Thailand surged by 29.4 percent, while those from the European Union and China climbed by 18.6 percent and 9.4 percent. In contrast, purchases from Japan declined by 5.5 percent.
For the whole 2017, there was an annual trade deficit of NZD 2.8 billion, down from NZD 3.1 billion for 2016.