New Zealand Exports Set New December Record

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

In 2017, New Zealand posted its largest ever December trade surplus, and the largest surplus in any month since March 2015 after record levels of dairy exports.

The nation's merchandise trade surplus came to 640 New Zealand dollars ($468 million) in December compared with a NZ$1 million deficit a year ago.

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Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a median deficit of NZ$100 million for the month.

"Record export values of dairy products drove total exports to their highest-ever monthly value," international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said.

The previous highest values for both dairy exports and total exports were recorded in the 2013/14 dairy export season, when dairy prices were at a high level.

Exports of milk powder, butter, and cheese lifted total exports to NZ$5.6 billion in December 2017. Monthly exports were NZ$1.1 billion higher than in December 2016.

Stats NZ said imports for September totaled NZ$4.91 billion, while exports totaled NZ$5.5 billion.

New Zealand reported a NZ$2.38 billion trade deficit for the 12 months to December. Economists had expected a deficit of NZ$3.5 billion.

Write to Ben Collins at ben.collins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 29, 2018 17:17 ET (22:17 GMT)

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