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New Zealand Economic and Financial Overview 2016

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 38% of total merchandise export values in the year ended 30 September 2015.

The manufacturing sector has been a major source of export growth and diversification over the past few decades. The CER agreement with Australia has contributed to a successful expansion by manufacturers into the Australian market. A focus on design, reliability and cost is also seeing manufacturers make inroads into other markets, particularly Asia and the US. 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.

High exposure to competition from emerging Asia in the past decade has led New Zealand manufacturers to increasingly diversify into knowledge-intensive, specialised products, where New Zealand's reputation for quality and safety gives it an edge compared to overseas competitors.

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

Table 12 - Composition of Principal Merchandise Exports
Year ended 30 November
(dollar amounts in millions)
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015
% of Total
Dairy produce 11,900 11,423 13,403 14,509 11,523 23.5
Meat and edible offal 5,528 5,165 5,276 5,929 6,825 13.9
Wood and articles thereof 3,194 3,161 3,857 3,662 3,514 7.2
Fruit and nuts 1,588 1,561 1,479 1,769 2,302 4.7
Fish, crustaceans and molluscs 1,343 1,361 1,313 1,362 1,435 2.9
Machinery and mechanical appliances 1,478 1,403 1,245 1,314 1,366 2.8
Casein and caseinates 775 877 947 1,079 1,161 2.4
Aluminium and articles thereof 1,238 1,037 969 1,000 1,031 2.1
Mineral fuels 2,519 2,187 1,724 1,558 891 1.8
Electrical machinery and equipment 969 961 913 773 869 1.8
Wool 795 717 705 752 814 1.7
Forest products - wood pulp 677 588 620 671 735 1.5
Precious stones, metal and jewellery 884 789 802 669 731 1.5
Iron, steel and articles thereof 992 899 855 721 637 1.3
Raw hides, skins and leather 557 565 596 549 513 1.0
Plastic materials and articles thereof 458 441 449 458 466 1.0
Forest products - paper and paper products 592 515 474 431 464 0.9
Vegetables 460 402 406 392 406 0.8
All other commodities 9,958 10,303 10,306 10,657 11,126 22.7
Total New Zealand Produce 45,905 44,356 46,340 48,256 46,808 95.6
Re-exports 1,796 1,708 1,703 1,818 2,173 4.4
Total Merchandise Exports Free on Board 47,702 46,064 48,044 50,075 48,980 100.0

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Table 13 - Composition of Principal Merchandise Imports
Year ended 30 November
(dollar amounts in millions)
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015
% of Total
Mechanical machinery and equipment 5,414 5,795 5,806 6,133 6,717 13.5
Vehicle parts and accessories 4,065 4,867 5,455 6,323 6,571 13.2
Mineral fuels 7,812 8,091 7,884 7,417 4,888 9.8
Electrical machinery and equipment 3,879 3,735 3,687 3,717 4,249 8.5
Plastic materials and articles thereof 1,548 1,629 1,695 1,834 1,955 3.9
Aircraft and parts 1,595 712 842 1,913 1,936 3.9
Optical, medical and measuring equipment 1,316 1,332 1,389 1,416 1,569 3.1
Pharmaceutical products 1,087 1,104 1,074 1,099 1,213 2.4
Apparel and made-up textiles 844 873 897 936 1,057 2.1
Articles of iron and steel 724 763 783 844 913 1.8
Paper and paperboard 962 834 846 819 881 1.8
Knitted or crocheted fabrics and apparel 675 662 675 684 799 1.6
Rubber and articles thereof 574 574 563 568 589 1.2
Other chemical products 494 477 500 486 532 1.1
Toys, games and sport requisites 450 447 438 449 531 1.1
Iron and steel 462 428 427 448 439 0.9
Organic chemicals 381 434 418 362 403 0.8
Books, newspapers and printed matter 372 358 320 305 281 0.6
Ships, boats and floating structures 91 105 322 357 211 0.4
Inorganic chemicals (excluding aluminium oxide) 217 219 206 192 192 0.4
All other products 11,565 11,409 11,690 12,429 13,972 28.0
Total Merchandise Imports Value for Duty (VFD) 44,529 44,848 45,916 48,731 49,899 100.0
Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) Value 46,896 47,219 48,360 51,258 52,530  

Source: Statistics New Zealand

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