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NZ exports lift 13%

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 21st September 2000

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Latest statistics show New Zealand exports grew by 13.4% to $24.7 billion in the year ending June 2000, the biggest annual increase in eight years.

The figure doesn't include exports of services, which are expected to add at least another $8 billion to the total.

Trade New Zealand spokesperson, Jack Stephens, says the strong export growth was helped by the competitive exchange rate, but was also the result of increases in export volumes to our main overseas markets.

As reflected in recent port company results, wood exports led the field, jumping 37% to $1.97 billion. Aluminium, meat and industrial and electrical machinery all recorded rises of around 20%.

Mr Stephens says Australia, the USA, Japan, South Korea and the UK continue to dominate as New Zealand's largest export destinations, accounting for 59% of total exports in the year ending June. New Zealand's fastest growing export market for the year ending June 2000 was Indonesia, up 70% to $321.2 million.

Australia remains New Zealand's largest single export market, taking $5.13 billion in exports, a 14% increase on the previous year. Notable increases were recorded in dairy products, wool and live animals. Australians also developed a taste for New Zealand water and alcoholic beverages, with that figure up 87% to $84 million.

On a regional basis, strong growth was shown in North and Southeast Asia, and North and Central America.

Europe was one of two regions to show a contraction during the June year, and Mr Stephens says the 3% decrease reflects a lack of focus on Europe by New Zealand exporters.

"For many New Zealand companies, their engagement in Europe stops at the UK. Anything beyond that they put in the too hard market because of the language and the distance and the time it takes to develop the market. We think that's a mistake. The opportunities and rewards are certainly there in greater Europe for companies who are prepared to spend time building relationships and making a commitment to a medium to long-term strategy to penetrate the market."

Exports to South America also fell slightly, largely as a result of a 10% decrease in milk powder exports, which make up 50% of exports to the region.

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