Import of large aircraft pushes New Zealand’s trade figures

The import of large aircraft pushed New Zealand’s trade figures into the red in January despite a hefty increase in exports to China, the government statistics agency announced Monday.

Milk powder, butter and cheese exports rose 25 percent last month compared with January 2011, while meat exports fell 13 percent, according to Statistics New Zealand.

“The trend for dairy exports has increased strongly since August 2011,” Statistics New Zealand industry and labor statistics manager Neil Kelly said in a statement.

“However, the trend for meat exports has been falling since July 2011.”

Last month, export values were up 430 million NZ dollars (359. 14 million U.S. dollars), or 13 percent, from January 2011, and imports increased by 637 million NZ dollars, or 19 percent, due to petroleum products and large aircraft imports.

“The trade balance for the January 2011 month was a deficit of 199 million NZ dollars, or 5.3 percent of exports. If the one-off importation of large aircraft is excluded, there would have been a small trade surplus of 14 million NZ dollars,” said the statement.

The largest increase in New Zealand exports — 173 million NZ dollars or 38 percent — last month went to China, led by milk powder, butter and cheese.

Dairy products also drove increased exports to Venezuala, the United States and Egypt, while exports to Australia were up 34 million NZ dollars, or 4.9 percent, led by still white wine.

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