China becomes biggest source of imports for New Zealand

Updated: 2012-02-16 10:51


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WELLINGTON - China became New Zealand's largest source of imports last year as New Zealand's total foreign trade rose by 10 percent to a value of more than NZ$92 billion ($77.23 billion).

Figures from New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Wednesday showed total exports grew by 9.7 percent to hit NZ$47. 7 billion last year, while imports grew by 10.7 percent to NZ$44.3 billion.

The top five sources of imports comprised 72 percent of the total, with China overtaking Australia to be the largest source of imports, said a statement from the ministry.

Imports from China were valued at NZ$7.051 billion, up by 10.6 percent, and accounted for 15.9 percent of New Zealand's total imports.

Meanwhile, imports from Australia fell by 4.14 percent to NZ$7.048 billion, mainly due to a fall in mineral fuel imports, which were down from NZ$452 million in 2010 to NZ$208 million last year.

The next biggest sources of imports were the European Union (up by 17 percent to NZ$6.9 billion), the ASEAN-10 countries (up 7.4 percent to NZ$6.2 billion) and the United States (up 9.6 percent to NZ$4.5 billion).

New Zealand exports grew in all of its top five markets, which accounted for 64 percent of all exports.

Australia remained the biggest export market, taking 22.8 percent of exports, valued at NZ$10.9 billion, up by 8.45 percent.

Exports to China, accounting for 12.3 percent of the total, were up 22 percent to NZ$5.9 billion.

The next three biggest markets were the EU (up 7.4 percent to almost NZ$5.4 billion), the ASEAN-10 countries (up 2.31 percent to NZ$4.5 billion) and the United States (up 6.37 percent to almost NZ$4 billion).

Exports of unprocessed primary products (beef, fruit and vegetables, live animals, minerals and fuels) grew by 12 percent last year and accounted for 33 percent of the total, while exports of processed primary products (cheese, cereals, wine, refined oil, wool and other dairy) grew by 11 percent to account for 37 percent of the total.

Australia remained the "number one trading partner" with mineral fuels being the biggest export and vehicles the biggest import.

China was the second biggest trading partner, with dairy products accounting for 37 percent of exports and machinery and electrical machinery the biggest imports.

The EU, ASEAN-10 (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and the United States made up the other top five trading partners.