28 Jul 2015

Non-dairy food exports on the up

7:35 am on 28 July 2015

ASB says falling confidence in the agriculture sector is being offset by flourishing exports of non-dairy foods.

Its rural economist, Nathan Penny, said while global dairy prices were at their lowest point, prices for beef, lamb, kiwifruit and wine had all steadily increased over the last four years.

"Looking more broadly at the agriculture sector, prices for most products are fairly buoyant. In particular, we're seeing some record prices for beef.

"Kiwifruit has had an excellent season but also wine is doing well, although their harvest was down a little this year.

"More broadly, the falling New Zealand dollar is supporting all export returns."

Yesterday, Statistics New Zealand reported fruit exports had reached a record annual high of $2 billion.

It said for the year to June, the value rose 20 percent, or $330 million, on the previous year, led by kiwifruit and apples, which reached their highest monthly export levels in May.

According to Statistics New Zealand figures 13 percent of New Zealand's fruit exports go to China.

Mr Penny said Chinese appetite for non-dairy foods remained steady, despite its falling demand for milk powder.

"There is a stockpile there and that's meaning they're not needing to buy quite so much of our product. But at the same time, China is the largest producer of whole milk powder.

"When their own production is strong they need to import less.

"They've had an excellent season, and we've had strong production similarly ourselves, so put those two together and there's less demand for our exports."