19 Mar 2018

Primary sector exports set to have a successful year

4:05 pm on 19 March 2018

Primary sector exports are forecast to have their largest increase in value this year since 2014.

No caption

Photo: RNZ Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

The Ministry for Primary Industries' Situation and Outlook report was released at midday and is predicting exports to increase 10.8 percent in the year to June to $42.2 billion.

It's a two percent lift on the ministry's forecast three months ago.

The latest report shows that December was the highest month ever for export revenue, bringing in a total of $4.3bn

MPI deputy director general Jarred Mair said all sectors were performing well.

"It's a very strong indication on how the strength of our sectors are going, a fantastic result for our sectors and all the hard work they've been doing in the past couple of years."

There was no particularly outstanding sector, he said.

"It's really broadly based, so we've got dairy returning really strong growth figures, we've got good signals in the sheep and beef sector and we've obviously got forestry, horticulture and our 'other' category growing quite strongly."

One caveat to the rosy outlook is the risk of increasing protectionism, Mr Mair said.

"This could limit opportunities for New Zealand's export-oriented primary sector. The US's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement in early 2017 is an example of this."

The wool sector is one that MPI was hoping would have recovered by now, he said.

"Wool is still not quite where we'd like it to be, but obviously there's a bit of a supply balance there to work through."

Mr Mair said next year exports are forecast to be more modest as some commodity prices are expected to return to historical trends.