Business / Economy

Chinese tourists help keep New Zealand trade in surplus

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-03-02 11:14

WELLINGTON - Spending by Chinese visitors helped offset plunging dairy prices to give New Zealand a slight trade surplus last year, the government statistics agency said Wednesday.

Total exports of goods and services were valued at NZ$69.3 billion ($45.99 billion) in 2015, while imports totaled $NZ66.9 billion ($44.4 billion), according to Statistics New Zealand.

Total exports rose NZ$1.9 billion ($1.26 billion) from 2014, driven by a rise of NZ$2.3 billion ($1.53 billion) in spending by international visitors and an increase of NZ$895 million ($594.1 million) in exports of meat products, while the value of dairy exports fell by NZ$3 billion ($1.99 billion).

"Although dairy exports were lower across the year, it has remained our top export earner," international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said in a statement.

"However, earnings from other export industries and markets have increased in significance, picking up the shortfall in dairy."

The growth in earnings from meat and travel was driven by key export markets, including China, the United States, and the European Union (EU).

Spending on personal travel by visitors from China had increased NZ$1.4 billion ($929.32 million) since 2011 to NZ$2.2 billion ($1.46 billion) in 2015, while visitors from Australia, New Zealand's biggest tourism market, spent NZ$1.9 billion ($1.26 billion) in 2015.

Last year, the EU was New Zealand's largest source of imports, totaling NZ$12.1 billion ($8.03 billion), followed by Australia on NZ$11.3 billion ($7.5 billion) and China on NZ$10.4 billion ($6.9 billion).

New Zealand's largest import expense in 2015 was electrical machinery and equipment from China.

"The rise in electrical machinery and equipment was mostly due to consumer electronics such as mobile phones," Attewell said.

"In recent years, cars from Japan or the EU had been our top import."

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