Source: Statistics New Zealand – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Lower dairy prices continue to push down terms of trade

The merchandise (goods) terms of trade fell 1.9 percent in the December 2014 quarter, due to export prices falling and import prices rising, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the second consecutive fall in the terms of trade, following six increases in a row.

Seasonally adjusted export volumes rose 1.5 percent, while the price of exported goods fell 1.8 percent, both led by dairy.  Excluding dairy, export prices rose about 4.9 percent. Higher meat and forestry prices partly offset the fall in dairy prices.

“Dairy prices fell 15 percent in the December quarter,” prices manager Chris Pike said. “They are now 28 percent below a recent peak in the March 2014 quarter, and are at their lowest level since early 2013.”

Seasonally adjusted dairy values fell 9.6 percent, while seasonally adjusted volumes rose 2.7 percent.

Meat prices rose 12 percent, influenced by higher prices for beef. Beef prices rose 23 percent to reach their highest level since the series began in 1971. Seasonally adjusted meat volumes rose 4.2 percent and values rose 15 percent.

Forestry prices rose 8.4 percent, influenced by higher prices for pine logs. Seasonally adjusted forestry volumes rose 7.4 percent and values rose 13 percent.

Seasonally adjusted import volumes rose 1.6 percent, led by intermediate goods. Imported goods prices were up 0.2 percent. There were several upward contributors, influenced by the lower New Zealand dollar, particularly against the US dollar. Offsetting these increases was a 10 percent fall in the price of petroleum and petroleum products.  

The price and volume indexes for exports and imports of goods are compiled mainly from overseas merchandise trade data.


For media enquiries contact: Chris Pike, Wellington 04 931 4600,

Authorised by Teresa Dickinson, Acting Government Statistician, 2 March 2015

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.