Latest figures for goods trade both positive and cautionary

NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small says the story from the latest update to the monthly goods trade data is both a positive and cautionary one.

Small says the overall 12-month picture for our goods exports to the US is positive, with growth of $569M over the period. There was growth in frozen beef exports by 16.9%, mechano-therapy appliances 53.9%, and sawn wood products 32%. However, the month-to-month data reflects increasing volatility and the challenge of global supply chain issues.

“We expect to see ongoing month-to-month volatility in many of New Zealand’s exports to the US over the short term as the impact of ongoing global supply chain issues plays out. This is affecting the ability of Kiwi exporters to get product into containers at the right time and place, find ships, and get product cleared at ports.”

The NZUS Council surveyed a selection of large New Zealand exporters into the United States who consistently cited global supply chain issues as a major problem. Shipping delays of up to 6-8 weeks, difficulties getting containers, and slow clearance through US ports were common themes.

Catherine Beard, executive director of Export NZ says, “We are definitely hearing from more stressed exporters about the shipping and logistics problems they are facing, which is a combination of being unable to get predictable slots on ships and the sky-high prices they are being charged.”

Small says a key takeaway from the data is that US and global demand for many of our largest exports remains rock solid, meaning we will continue to see higher global prices and exporters responding to this and shifting between markets.

“US demand for many of our exports remains steady and the US continues to be a key market in the planning of our exporters. For exports such as beef and wine the US is expected to remain their largest market over the coming 12 months. The reopening of food service and restaurants with the vaccination rollout in the US will also be positive for many of our exporters to the US.”

Small says the NZUS Council supports the Prime Minister’s commitment to pursuing an enhanced trade relationship with the US over this term.

“Continuing to grow the significant two-way trade growth potential for the US and New Zealand will help New Zealand achieve the government’s call for further export market diversification and support New Zealand’s recovery from the pandemic.”

The NZUS Council is a New Zealand organisation, established in 2001, focused on advancing New Zealand’s interests in a stronger relationship with the US.