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New Zealand's meat and dairy exports fall in 2016

Staff Writer | January 31, 2017
New Zealand's top two export commodities, meat and dairy, both fell in value in 2016, the government statistics agency said.
New Zealand cow
Meat trade   The large fall in meat exports for 2016
The total value of all export goods was 48.4 billion NZ dollars ($35.24 billion) in 2016, down 544 million NZ dollars ($395.87 million) from the previous year, according to Statistics New Zealand. It was the second annual fall in a row for exports.

The biggest fall by value was for meat and edible offal, the second largest export group, with sales down 909 million NZ dollars ($681.84 million) to 5.9 billion NZ dollars ($4.29 billion), and the quantity down 7.4 percent.

The United States accounted for three-quarters of the fall in beef, while the European Unionaccounted for nearly half of the fall in lamb.

"The large fall in meat exports for 2016 reflects a decline from the record meat season in 2015 for both value and quantity," international statistics senior manager Nicola Growden said in a statement.

"The 2016 year's meat exports have returned to levels similar to those seen in 2014."

The quantity of milk powder, butter, and cheese exported rose to a new high of 3 million tonnes, but the value of dairy exports dropped by almost 3 percent 11.2 billion NZ dollars ($8.15 billion).

The quantity of dairy exports had been rising since 2013 and was 14 percent higher than then, with China accounting for 25 percent of the total in 2016, up from 23 percent in 2015.

The value of imported goods was 51.6 billion NZ dollars ($37.56 billion) in 2016, down 1.7 percent from the annual high in 2015.

The fall was led by cheaper oil and petrol, and partly offset by a rise in cars, trucks and parts.

In 2016 the annual trade deficit of 3.2 billion NZ dollars ($2.33 billion), or 6.6 percent of exports was smaller than the deficit of 3.5 billion NZ dollars ($2.55 billion) for the 2015 year, which saw the largest annual deficit since 2008.