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New Zealand Economic and Financial Overview 2014

Composition of Merchandise Exports and Imports

The agricultural sector is highly efficient and has steadily increased the value-added component in agricultural exports. Meat and dairy products are the most important agricultural exports - together they accounted for around 36% of total merchandise export values in the year ended 30 September 2013.

The manufacturing sector has been a major source of export growth and diversification over the past two decades. The Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia has contributed to a successful expansion by manufacturers into that market. A focus on design, reliability and cost has seen manufacturers make inroads into other markets, particularly Asia and the United States. Despite New Zealand's geographical position, it now exports a range of manufactured goods, including plastic goods, carpets and textiles, wines and high-tech computer equipment to countries throughout the world.

Tables 12 and 13 show the dollar amounts and percentage shares of New Zealand's major exports and imports.

Table 12 - Composition of Principal Merchandise Exports
Year ended 30 September
(dollar amounts in millions)
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2013
% of Total
Dairy produce 8,747 9,389 11,468 11,827 11,470 24.9
Meat and edible offal 5,322 4,979 5,563 5,130 5,236 11.4
Wood and articles thereof 2,362 2,740 3,247 3,059 3,669 8.0
Mineral fuels 1,894 2,136 2,337 2,307 1,878 4.1
Fruit and nuts 1,607 1,465 1,548 1,611 1,471 3.2
Machinery and mechanical appliances 1,287 1,257 1,342 1,359 1,335 2.9
Fish, crustaceans and molluscs 1,364 1,355 1,441 1,431 1,264 2.7
Aluminium and articles thereof 976 1,136 1,251 1,080 948 2.1
Electrical machinery and equipment 855 879 942 994 929 2.0
Casein and caseinates 1,037 638 721 903 869 1.9
Iron, steel and articles thereof 726 826 878 787 828 1.8
Precious stones, metal and jewellery 893 850 998 925 819 1.8
Wool 550 570 756 749 715 1.6
Forest products - wood pulp 612 667 686 610 606 1.3
Raw hides, skins and leather 397 411 543 566 590 1.3
Forest products - paper and paper products 544 548 590 540 481 1.0
Plastic materials and articles thereof 413 433 463 443 451 1.0
Vegetables 415 412 458 405 405 0.9
All other commodities 9,627 9,299 9,758 10,258 10,440 22.7
Total New Zealand Produce 39,628 39,989 44,989 44,986 44,401 96.5
Re-exports 1,961 1,795 1,809 1,762 1,618 3.5
Total Merchandise Exports FOB 41,588 41,785 46,798 46,748 46,019 100.0

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Table 13 - Composition of Principal Merchandise Imports
 Year ended 30 September
(dollar amounts in millions)
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2013
% of Total
Mineral fuels 5,986 6,128 7,525 8,142 7,697 17.0
Mechanical machinery and equipment 5,277 4,751 5,343 5,776 5,684 12.6
Vehicle parts and accessories 3,174 3,756 4,024 4,710 5,253 11.6
Electrical machinery and equipment 4,078 3,402 3,816 3,786 3,718 8.2
Plastic materials and articles thereof 1,480 1,477 1,546 1,596 1,689 3.7
Optical, medical and measuring equipment 1,375 1,243 1,332 1,311 1,364 3.0
Pharmaceutical products 1,146 1,097 1,090 1,090 1,098 2.4
Apparel and made-up textiles
(not knitted or crocheted)
802 756 836 880 882 2.0
Paper and paperboard 929 949 956 857 854 1.9
Articles of iron and steel 845 646 706 763 753 1.7
Aircraft and parts 1,521 521 1,477 1,130 731 1.6
Knitted or crocheted fabrics and apparel 651 625 682 665 663 1.5
Rubber and articles thereof 498 509 552 582 564 1.2
Other chemical products 493 493 489 488 465 1.0
Toys, games and sport requisites 459 403 442 453 431 1.0
Iron and steel 478 436 452 416 427 0.9
Organic chemicals 361 327 376 411 421 0.9
Books, newspapers and printed matter 403 396 383 363 326 0.7
Ships, boats and floating structures 159 324 154 84 326 0.7
Inorganic chemicals (excluding aluminium oxide) 251 212 212 212 186 0.4
All other products 10,455 10,104 11,322 11,530 11,623 25.7
Total Merchandise Imports VFD 40,820 38,554 43,715 45,246 45,155 100.0
CIF Value 43,257 40,810 46,104 47,640 47,556  

Source: Statistics New Zealand

New Zealand's trading relationships are increasingly based around Pacific Rim countries. New Zealand's three largest export markets - Australia, China and the United States - accounted for 47.1% of merchandise exports and 40.6% of merchandise imports in the year ended 30 September 2013. Japan remains an important trading partner. However, Asia excluding Japan is growing rapidly in importance, increasing its share of merchandise exports to around 38%, up significantly from a decade ago.

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