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China demand drives surge in New Zealand exports

Source:   Time:

WELLINGTON, March 26 (Xinhua) -- China's demand for dairy products drove an 8 percent rise in New Zealand goods exports last month, the New Zealand government statistics agency announced Tuesday.

The value of exported goods rose by 290 million NZ dollars (242. 09 million U.S. dollars) year on year to 3.9 billion NZ dollars in February, led by an increase of 49 percent, or 259 million NZ dollars, in exports to China, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The increase in exports to China was led by whole milk powder, up 106 million NZ dollars, or 80 percent, with quantities up 99 percent, followed by rises in pinus radiata logs and sheep meat.

"China drove the overall rise in exports," industry and labor statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said in a statement.

The value of imported goods rose by 86 million NZ dollars, or 2. 5 percent, to 3.5 billion NZ dollars, led by consumption goods, which were up by 90 million NZ dollars, while capital goods fell by 29 million NZ dollars and intermediate goods fell by 15 million NZ dollars.

China, New Zealand's main import partner, led the rise in imports too, with values up 104 million NZ dollars, or 19 percent, over a range of commodities, including clothing and furniture.

New Zealand had a trade surplus last month of 414 million NZ dollars, or 11 percent of exports.

February months had been in surplus since 2007 and the trend for exports was 0.7 percent lower than its highest-ever peak in November 2011.

The opposition Green Party said the figures showed annual manufacturing exports values down 6 percent over the year, making it the lowest February number since 2004.

"The simplification of our export strategy is concerning. A growing reliance on one or two agricultural exports will make our economy more vulnerable to commodity price swings and adverse events like drought," Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said in a statement.

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