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New Zealand’s exports to China trump sales to Australia and the United States

February 11, 2019

New Zealand’s goods and services exports are dominated by three key countries, led by China, then Australia and the United States, Stats NZ said today.

China is New Zealand’s single-biggest export market, accounting for around one in every five dollars of sales of goods and services overseas, according to data first released by Stats NZ in December 2018 (see Goods and services trade by country: Year ended September 2018).

New Zealand’s exports of all goods and services to China were worth $16.6 billion for the year ended September 2018, $2.6 billion more than Australia and almost double the sales to the United States.

New Zealand’s imports and exports for the year ended September 2018, interactive map (see above).

Since the year ended September 2016, China has consistently been New Zealand’s top goods export partner. In the past, Australia had almost always been our top goods export partner, only overtaken by China in the year ended December 2013. If the European Union is excluded (because of uncertainty around Brexit), the United States becomes New Zealand’s third-largest export market.

Total goods and services exports ($) to China, Australia, and the United States,2008–18

Year ended September China Australia United States
2008 3157000000 13823000000 6325000000
2009 4445000000 13205000000 6658000000
2010 5318000000 13982000000 5787000000
2011 6828000000 14880000000 5914000000
2012 7744000000 14679000000 6386000000
2013 9776000000 13617000000 6411000000
2014 13296000000 12909000000 6842000000
2015 11125000000 12901000000 8511000000
2016 12305000000 12956000000 8405000000
2017 14038000000 13417000000 8460000000
2018 16620000000 14037000000 8587000000

Exports by destination, New Zealand’s top ten export markets, year ended September 2018

Destination   Goods   Services   Total 
 NZ$(million)  Rank  NZ$(million)  NZ$(million) Rank
 China, People’s Republic of 13,262  1  3,357  16,620  1
 Australia  9,054  2  4,983  14,037  2
 European Union  5,594  3  3,692 9,286  3
United Kingdom  1,496  1,450  2,946  …
Germany  849  …  839  1,688  …
Netherlands  888 172  1,060  …
France  327  … 453  780  …
Italy  329  … 75  404  …
 United States of America  5,412  4 3,174  8,587  4
Japan  3,421  5  929  4,351  5
 Korea, Republic of  1,690 6 579  2,269  6
 India  696  17  1,289  1,985  7
 Singapore  1,290  7  479 1,769  8
 Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) 1,252  8  500  1,752  9
Taiwan  1,187  9  221  1,408  10

China was New Zealand’s top export market for major exports including dairy products ($4.0 billion), logs and wood ($2.9 billion), and meat ($1.9 billion), for the year ended September 2018. The value of these sales has mostly risen over the past three years.

Travel was our largest services export to China – spending by Chinese visitors contributed $1.6 billion to the New Zealand economy. This was followed by Chinese students who studied in New Zealand ($1.3 billion) and transportation services ($225 million).

For both goods and services (combined), Australia was a slightly larger source of imports ($12.4 billion) than China ($12.2 billion), reflecting the high level of services imports from Australia.

For goods alone, China was the biggest single source of imports, worth $11.5 billion, much greater than New Zealand’s imports in goods from Australia ($6.8 billion), and the United States ($6.6 billion). (Note: Import values are published on a ‘value for duty’ (vfd) basis, ie without insurance and freight costs.)

Since the year ended September 2014, annual goods imports from China have risen 44 percent.

Total goods imports ($) from China, Australia, and the United States, 2008–18

Year ended September China Australia United States
2008 5723000000 8345000000 4223000000
2009 6092000000 7317000000 4381000000
2010 6073000000 7348000000 3723000000
2011 6910000000 7098000000 4858000000
2012 7327000000 6888000000 4426000000
2013 7665000000 6338000000 4132000000
2014 7982000000 5906000000 5305000000
2015 9577000000 5977000000 5779000000
2016 10042000000 6236000000 5699000000
2017 10223000000 6470000000 5270000000
2018 11463000000 6840000000 6574000000

China was also a key source of electrical goods, such as cell phones. Imports of electrical machinery and equipment were worth $2.3 billion, and mechanical machinery and equipment $2.0 billion in the year ended September 2018. Over 40 percent of the total electrical machinery and equipment, and about a quarter of all mechanical machinery and equipment imported into New Zealand came from China.

China was a bigger supplier of those types of goods than the United States (mechanical machinery $1.5 billion, and electrical machinery $321 million) and a far bigger supplier of such goods than Australia.

New Zealanders who visited China spent $316 million in the year ended September 2018 – travel was the top service imported from China. The next was transportation services (passenger, freight, and other expenses associated with the transportation of people and cargo) at $233 million.

For the year ended September 2018, New Zealand’s largest trade surplus of $4.4 billion was with China – reflecting a much higher level of exports than imports – followed by Australia ($1.6 billion). New Zealand’s two-way trade with China in the year ended September 2018 was worth $28.8 billion, out of $160.7 billion in total two-way trade.

October 2018 marked the 10-year anniversary of the New Zealand–China free trade agreement.

Media enquiries
James Weir
021 285 9191
info@stats.govt.nz

Published on Stats.govt.nz on 5 Feburary 2019

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