Exports increased 2.8 percent year-on-year to NZD 5.01 billion, after a downwardly revised 7.4 percent gain in the previous month but below market consensus of NZD 5.29 billion. Exports were mainly driven by higher sales of logs, wood and wood articles, which rose 16 percent to NZD 472 million. Additionally, sales of milk powder, butter & cheese advanced 3.5 percent to NZD 1.15 billion; and exports of meat and edible offal went up 2.5 percent to NZD 0.6 percent. Meantime, sales of petroleum and products other than crude oil dropped 97 percent to NZD 3 million.
By destination, exports went up to China (27.1 percent), Malaysia (18.6 percent), and Japan (2.6 percent). In contrast, sales went down to the EU (-15.7 percent), Australia (-6.8 percent), the US (-6.3 percent) and South Korea (-5.0 percent).
Imports decreased 10.0 percent year-on-year to NZD 4.65 billion, after rising an upwardly revised 8.1 percent in the prior month, well below expectations of NZD 5.20 billion. Purchases were mainly dragged by petroleum & products, down 39.4 percent to NZD 0.49 billion, due to a planned maintenance shutdown of the Marsden Point oil refinery in the same month of 2018. Also, imports of vehicles declined 16.4 percent to NZD 0.66 billion, namely motor vehicles and trucks & vans and ships, boats, and floating structures. In contrast, purchases of electrical machinery & equipment rose 4.6 percent to NZD 0.41 billion.
Among major trading partners, imports went down from Japan (-30.7 percent); the EU (-12.5 percent); and United Arab Emirates (-64.9 percent), while increased from the US (3.2 percent) and Australia (2.1 percent).