2 Sep 2022

Stats NZ data shows 2.4% drop in terms of trade in second quarter

3:04 pm on 2 September 2022

The country's trade position has softened as the rise in import costs has outstripped that of exports.

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Import costs have outstripped export earnings with terms of trade falling 2.4 percent in the three months ended June. Photo: AFP

Stats NZ data showed terms of trade, which measure how much imports can be bought for a set amount of export earnings, fell 2.4 percent in the three months ended June, to be 2.3 percent lower than the same quarter last year.

"Today's result is broadly consistent with the broad themes evident in global trade," ASB economist Nathaniel Keall said.

Export prices rose 3.7 percent, but import costs were 6.5 percent higher on the previous quarter.

"By the looks of it, higher oil and other commodity import prices were the key catalyst pushing import prices higher, with prices for petroleum up 42 percent in Q2 and non-fuel crude materials up 26.5 percent over the quarter," he said.

A fall in the value of the New Zealand dollar has also had an effect.

Keall said there might well be further softness in the terms of trade in the near term before something of an uplift.

"We wouldn't be surprised if New Zealand's terms of trade soften a bit more over the next quarter or so. But with the weak NZ dollar, the upside potential to major New Zealand agri export prices and the soggier outlook for import demand, the odds are in favour of New Zealand's terms of trade holding close to record highs over the coming quarters."

Export volumes rose 3 percent with import volumes falling 0.9 percent, which pointed to local firms holding more stock to guard against supply chain disruptions.

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