Imports rose 7.7 percent year-on-year to NZD 5.32 billion in January 2019, after increasing 8.0 percent in the prior month. Imports were mainly driven by higher purchases of petroleum & products, up 12.5 percent to NZD 725 million, namely crude oil (11 percent) and diesel (27 percent). Also, purchases went up for textiles (+12.2 percent to NZD 258 million) and mechanical machinery (+11.4 percent to NZD 765 million). In contrast, imports of electrical machinery dropped 7.1 percent to NZD 360 million and purchases of ships, boats, and floating structures declined 70.6 percent to NZD 26 million. By country of origin, purchases increased from China (14.0 percent); Japan (19.5 percent); the EU (12 percent); and the US (9.6 percent). Meanwhile, imports dropped from Australia (-1.9 percent) and South Korea (-19.4 percent).
Exports advanced 3.0 percent year-on-year to NZD 4.40 billion, after declining 3.9 percent in December. Exports were mostly boosted by higher sales of milk powder, butter & cheese category, which jumped 12.3 percent to NZD 1525 million, with milk fats and milk powder rising 18 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Also, sales of logs and wood climbed 13.2 percent to NZD 315 million. On the other hand, exports of meat and edible offal decreased 9.6 percent to NZD 619 million, mainly lamb (-9.1 percent) and beef (-10 percent). By destination, exports went up to China (9.7 percent) and the US (4.0 percent) while fell to Australia (-13.1 percent); the EU (-12.3 percent); and Japan (-2.8 percent).
The twelve-month trade balance recorded a NZD 6.36 billion gap (vs a NZD 3.29 billion deficit a year earlier).