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

Commentary

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

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, click link (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

Stat1

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

Stat2

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 February 2019