Tony Alexander

Economic Commentaries

NZ-China Economic Data

Wednesday July 31st 2013

NZ exports to China continue to soar.

Trade Data

China contributes 18.7% of NZ’s export receipts, up from 7.1% in October 2008 and 15% a year ago.

The rate of growth in NZ exports to China and Hong Kong remains very strong at 22.2% in the year to June from 8.8% a year ago, 30.1% two years ago, and 18% in the year to June 2010. China and Hong Kong now take 18.7% of all NZ merchandise exports and at this pace will soon depose Australia as our largest trading partner. In the year to June Australia’s proportion was 20.9% from 22.4% a year ago.

Excluding China+ New Zealand’s exports fell 6.4% in the year to June. China now takes around 22.2% of our primary exports and 4.4% non-primary from 7.9% and 3.5% in the year to September 2008 just before the Free Trade Agreement came into force. The bulk of our growth in exports to China+ therefore has been from the primary sector. Note that in the latest year non-primary exports to China+ fell by 7.6% and declined 7.2% to all other countries.

Tourism Flows

Some 239,000 visitors from China and Hong Kong in the year to March accounted for $753mn or 13.7% of tourist spending in NZ of $5.5bn. More info =

The number of visitors to New Zealand from China+ was ahead 20% in June this year from June last year and up 24.3% for the full year. The growth rates for all other sources were 4.6% and -2.1% respectively. These changes mean that China+ now supplies 9.5% of all NZ visitors from 7.7% one year ago, 6.2% two years ago, and 5.2% three years ago.

Migration Flows

New Zealand experienced a net population gain in the year to June of 7,907 people. The contribution to this from China including Hong Kong was 5,655 from 5,573 a year ago. There is therefore little growth occurring in net migration to NZ from China and it pays to note that while China accounts for most of the overall net migration gain this past year, so too does India at 5,120, and the UK at 6,304.


The big negative offset is the net NZ population loss to Australia which was 31,246. A year ago this loss was 39,809 and this turnaround accounts for the bulk of the change in the overall net migration flow for the year to 7,907 from -3,191 a year earlier.