New Zealand’s Top Trade Partners

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An island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean located to the southeast of Australia, New Zealand shipped US$37 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents roughly 0.2% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year earlier for 2016.

Over half (53.8%) of New Zealand’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries. Another 18% were sold to fellow Oceanian importers led by Australia while New Zealand shipped 12% worth of goods to North America and 10.3% to Europe.

At 3.2%, a smaller percentage of New Zealand’s exported goods arrived in Africa.

New Zealand’s Top 15 Trade Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of New Zealand’s top trade partners, countries that imported the most shipments by dollar value from New Zealand during 2017. Also shown is each trade partner’s percentage of total New Zealand exports.

  1. China: US$8.4 billion (22.8% of total New Zealand exports)
  2. Australia: $5.8 billion (15.6%)
  3. United States: $3.7 billion (10%)
  4. Japan: $2.3 billion (6.2%)
  5. South Korea: $1.1 billion (2.9%)
  6. United Kingdom: $994.9 million (2.7%)
  7. Hong Kong: $843.9 million (2.3%)
  8. Taiwan: $801.6 million (2.2%)
  9. Singapore: $756.8 million (2%)
  10. Malaysia: $714.4 million (1.9%)
  11. Indonesia: $682.6 million (1.8%)
  12. Thailand: $619.9 million (1.7%)
  13. Netherlands: $610.9 million (1.7%)
  14. United Arab Emirates: $592.6 million (1.6%)
  15. Vietnam: $502.8 million (1.4%)

Over three-quarters (76.7%) of New Zealand exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Australia (down -0.1%), United States (down -0.2%), United Kingdom (down -2.7%) and Singapore (down -3.8%) were the only top importers that decreased purchases from New Zealand from 2016 to 2017. Among the other 11 countries, gains ranged from a minimum of 1.5% for South Korea up to 51.9% for Hong Kong.

Deficits

New Zealand incurred an overall -$3.1 billion trade deficit encompassing all countries, up 34.2% from the -$2.3 billion in red ink one year earlier.

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

New Zealand incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. Germany: -US$1.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Thailand: -$1.3 billion
  3. United Arab Emirates: -$837.9 million
  4. Japan: -$682.5 million
  5. Singapore: -$610.8 million
  6. United States: -$583.5 million
  7. Italy: -$582.5 million
  8. Malaysia: -$536.4 million
  9. France: -$467.4 million
  10. South Korea: -$359.7 million

Among New Zealand’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, New Zealander deficits with Singapore (up 181.3%), United Arab Emirates (up 146.9%) and United States (up 46.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate New Zealand’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for New Zealand to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

In 2017, New Zealand incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Australia: US$863.9 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. Hong Kong: $780.4 million
  3. China: $696.3 million
  4. Philippines: $409.8 million
  5. Algeria: $383.1 million
  6. Sri Lanka: $239.9 million
  7. Fiji: $233 million
  8. Taiwan: $221.1 million
  9. Egypt: $195.3 million
  10. Netherlands: $184.9 million

New Zealand’s trade with China went from -$646.8 million in red ink during 2016 to a $696.3 million surplus in 2017. Among other trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, New Zealander surpluses with Sri Lanka (up 81.1%), Hong Kong (up 61.4%) and Philippines (up 14.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate New Zealand’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for New Zealand to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing New Zealand Trade Partners

Not one New Zealand-based corporation ranks among the Forbes Global 2000.

The NZX50 Index is the main stock market index for New Zealand. Based on that index, the following companies are among leading stock companies in New Zealand that have the highest capitalization values.

  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (financial services)
  • Coats Group PLC (sewing supplies, zippers, fasteners)
  • Kathmandu Holdings Limited (outdoor clothing, equipment)
  • Mainfreight Limited (logistics, transportation)
  • Nuplex Industries Limited (resins for decorative/industrial/protective coatings)
  • Steel & Tube Holdings Limited (building materials)
  • The a2 Milk Company Limited (dairy products)


 
See also New Zealand’s Top 10 Exports and New Zealand’s Top 10 Imports

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 1, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 1, 2018

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 1, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 1, 2018

Wikipedia, NZX 50 Index. Accessed on March 1, 2018