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Meat and fibre exports show industry strength

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A boost in agricultural exports at a traditionally quiet time of year has proved the economic worth of the country's meat and fibre industries.

Statistics New Zealand's Overseas Merchandise Trade results for August show overall there was a $313 million rise in exported goods compared to August last year, with meat export values rising 32 percent to $76 million, wool up 21 percent and hides and skins up 33 percent. Dairy products were also up 14 percent, compared to the same month last year.

"After Fonterra's announcement of record annual results last week, Statistics New Zealand's Overseas Merchandise Trade results for August show the sheep and beef sector is also an important source of income for our country," Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says.

"These figures reflect continued demand for high quality protein and a recognition of wool's outstanding natural properties on the global stage. The export figures we are seeing, even at this low point in the season, indicates global demand for New Zealand's premium agricultural food and fibre products continues to grow.

"Having seen a turn around in fortunes last season, sheep and beef farmers are looking forward to another good year for 2011/12.

"These statistics show there is plenty for New Zealanders to be optimistic about when it comes to agriculture. Although overall the country saw a $641 million trade deficit for August, large deficits are typical for this time of year. August and September traditionally have the lowest volumes of agricultural exports for the year. Peak months for dairy are October to April and most of our meat is exported between December and May.

"When you consider the extremely high exchange rates throughout August, with the New Zealand dollar peaking at $US0.88 and 75 on the Trade Weighted Index, this is an even greater result for our primary industries.

"The fact that imports also grew is not necessarily a bad sign either. Petroleum imports, which can vary dramatically from month to month, were up 56 percent for August 2011 compared to August 2010.

"Balancing that were large increases for capital equipment, indicating businesses are regaining an appetite for investing in growth. As the economy recovers you would expect imports to also grow.

"The Federation also is also excited about the opportunities presented by export growth in a number of non-traditional trading partners, particularly China our second biggest trading partner after Australia, but also throughout the rest of Asia," Mr Wills concluded.

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