WELLINGTON: Kiwifruit exports rose 73 million NZ dollars (52.8 million U.S. dollars) in August 2017 to reach 268 million NZ dollars (193.8 million U.S. dollars), up 37 percent on the same month last year, New Zealand’s statistics department Stats NZ said on Tuesday. “This annual increase in kiwifruit exports was led by gold kiwifruit, in particular to China,” international statistics senior manager Daria Kwon said in a statement. The rise was the leading contributor to an increase of 9 percent in overall goods exports, which was 3.7 billion NZ dollars (2.7 billion U.S. dollars) in August, said the Stats NZ statement. For the August 2017 year, the value of kiwifruit exports was the highest ever at 1.8 billion NZ dollars (1.3 billion U.S. dollars), up 13 percent from the previous year, it said, adding that the quantity of kiwifruit exports was up 9.8 percent over the same period. Other export goods commodities to rise in the month of August were petroleum and products including crude oil, food preparations including infant formula, and mechanical machinery and equipment, Kwon said.
Milk powder, butter, and cheese, New Zealand’s single biggest export commodity group, fell 2.6 percent in August 2017 compared with August 2016, reflecting a smaller quantity for the month, Kwon said, adding that this month’s fall follows strong rises in recent months, and international dairy product auction prices rose sharply in the second half of 2016. Goods imports rose 6.5 percent to reach 4.9 billion NZ dollars (3.54 billion U.S. dollars) in August 2017, led by an increase in the value of crude oil, which was up 93 percent, Stats NZ said, adding that imports of crude oil and other petroleum products tend to move up and down from month to month, depending on the timing of shipments. The monthly trade deficit in August 2017 was 1.2 billion NZ dollars (868 million U.S. dollars), or 33 percent of exports, marginally lower than the deficit in August 2016, the department said.