New Zealand posted a merchandise trade surplus of NZ$469 million in May, Statistics New Zealand said on Friday.

That was up from the upwardly revised NZ$414 million surplus in April (originally NZ$388 million).

Imports skyrocketed NZ$1.3 billion of 31 percent on year to NZ$5.4 billion, up from the upwardly revised NZ$4.99 billion figure in the previous month (originally NZ$4.98 billion).

“May 2021 had the largest all-time value in imports of cars for any month,” international trade manager Alasdair Allen said. “The big monthly rise in vehicle imports was largely due to a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Exports rose NZ$461 million or 8.5 percent on year to NZ$5.87 billion, up from the upwardly revised NZ$5.4 billion figure a month earlier (originally NZ$5.37 billion).

Monthly goods exports were up MZ$461 million to $5.9 billion. This was driven by dairy products, up NZ$154 million (12 percent) to NZ$1.5 billion from May 2020.

The increase was driven by milk powder which rose NZ$129 million (18 percent) in value, and 18 percent in quantity. Other drivers included fresh milk, up NZ$33 million (42 percent) in value, and 55 percent in quantity.

The exports increase was also driven by logs, wood, and wood articles, up NZ$108 million. This was led by a large rise in untreated logs, up NZ$104 million (35 percent), and 32 percent in quantity.

“Exports of logs have been recovering steadily over the last four months,” Allen said.

On an yearly basis, annual goods exports were valued at NZ$59.5 billion, down NZ$592 million (1.0 percent) from the previous year.

Annual goods imports were valued at NZ$59.6 billion, down NZ$1.8 billion (2.9 percent) from the previous year.

In the year ended May 2021, the annual goods trade balance was a deficit of NZ$62 million.


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