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Crude oil import volumes more than double - Stats NZ

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Crude oil import volumes more than doubled in the December 2020 quarter, bouncing back from recent lows, Stats NZ said today.

Import volumes for primary fuels and lubricants, which primarily covers crude oil, rose 129.4 percent on the previous quarter. The rise follows two consecutive quarters of falling import volumes in June and September 2020.

"This is the largest quarterly percentage increase in crude oil import volumes since the series began in September 1982," business prices delivery manager Bryan Downes said.

"However, import volumes for crude oil remain leaner than they were a year ago."

Annually, import volumes for primary fuels and lubricants were down 3.2 percent on the previous December quarter.

"In the September 2020 quarter, New Zealand imported more petrol and diesel while local refining was temporarily suspended," Mr Downes said.

"Now that refining has resumed, crude oil imports are back up and petrol and diesel imports are down."

Crude oil import volumes had dropped to zero in the month of July (see Crude oil imports dry up in July) before picking up again.

Import and export prices down, terms of trade up

Falling crude oil prices contributed to a 1.7 percent drop in import prices in the December 2020 quarter. Prices for petroleum and petroleum products fell 5.8 percent quarterly, including a 10.5 percent fall for primary fuels and lubricants. However, import price falls were partly offset by a 1.5 percent price increase for transport equipment, driven by a 2.9 percent increase for passenger motor cars.

Export prices also fell, down 0.4 percent on the quarter. Prices for dairy products dropped 2.6 percent, while prices rose 2.7 percent for forestry products and 8.9 percent for fish and fish preparations, reflecting overseas demand for logs and lobsters.

Terms of trade rose 1.3 percent on the back of falling import prices, following a large drop in the September 2020 quarter (see Largest drop in terms of trade in a decade as dairy export prices sour).

"Falling import and export prices can be partly attributed to the strengthening of the New Zealand dollar," Mr Downes said.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s trade-weighted index (TWI) rose 1.2 percent in the December 2020 quarter. In the same period, the New Zealand dollar rose 3.6 percent against the US dollar. The trade weighted index (TWI) is a measure of the value of the New Zealand dollar (NZD) relative to the currencies of New Zealand's major trading partners.

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Crude oil import volumes more than double

International trade: December 2020 quarter

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