New Zealand trade balance surplus better than expected in July

A recovery in dairy export prices helped boost July 2017 exports, compared with July 2016, Stats NZ said today. This led to a rare July trade surplus of $85 million in 2017.

“July months are typically deficits,” overseas trade manager Tehseen Islam said. “This is the first July surplus since 2012 ($98 million) and only the 11th July surplus since 1960. This month’s surplus compares with a $351 million deficit in July 2016, in part reflecting a large aircraft import back then.”

Exports rose $668 million (17 percent) in July 2017, compared with July 2016. The rise in exports was led by higher values across a variety of commodities, especially milk powder, butter, and cheese – up $426 million (51 percent).

The rise in dairy was the largest for any month since March 2014. The value of whole milk powder per tonne was one-third higher than a year ago, while the quantity was up 12 percent. International dairy product auction prices rose sharply in the second half of 2016.