The $429 million increase in exports was led by pleasure boats; milk powder, butter, and cheese; and meat and edible offal. China was the country with the largest increase.
The $594 million increase in imports was mainly due to petroleum and products (crude oil and automotive diesel), and aircraft and parts (mainly the one-off importation of aircraft parts). Imports in both these categories are irregular by nature.
The trend in the value of exports has increased 30 percent since its most recent low point in September 2009, and continues to reach new highs. The trend in import values has mainly increased (up 22 percent) since the most recent low point, also in September 2009, but is still 8.6 percent below its overall peak in September 2008.
In May 2011, the trade surplus was $605 million, or 13 percent of the value of exports. Excluding the one-off import of aircraft parts in May 2011, the surplus would be $819 million (18 percent of the value of exports). This compares with an average surplus of 6.7 percent of exports over the May months from 2006 and 2010.