11 Dec 2014

Primary export earnings predicted to drop

5:25 am on 11 December 2014

Falling dairy prices and demand will take a big chunk out of New Zealand's primary export earnings this year.

Revised forecasts from the Ministry for Primary Industries predict that primary industry export earnings will drop by 9.5 percent for the 2014-15 year to about $34.5 billion.

The main reason for that would be a reduction of more than $4 billion in dairy export revenue. However, MPI expected dairy export earnings to rise again in the 2015-16 year.

Sector policy director Jarred Mair said growth in other exports would partly offset the fall in dairy returns.

"The key growth for us in this update has been the meat and wool sector - roughly about half a billion dollars - and that's been under-pinned by strong growth in beef prices in the US, which are currently up about 40 percent on last year and also wool into China," he said.

"The meat and wool sector are expecting to go up pretty consistently over the next two years, so about six-and-a-half percent in the next season, and then a good two-and-a-half percent the year after."

Mr Mair said forestry export revenue was expected to pick up again from next year, horticulture and seafood returns are continuing to increase, along with exports of live animals - mainly dairy cattle for breeding and race horses.

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