New Zealand Top Commodity Imports & Exports: A World Leader In Concentrated Milk Exports

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Source: WikiMedia Commons

Economy of New Zealand – Overview

New Zealand currently ranks as the 44th largest export economy in the world with annual exports totaling $32.5 billion and imports of $35.7 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of $3.17 billion.

The yearly value of New Zealand’s exports has fallen over the last five years at an annualized rate of -1.55% from $38.7 billion to $32.5 billion in that period.

GDP is $185 billion and its GDP per capita is $39,100.

The country’s economic health tends to reflect global market conditions and adverse weather conditions can also affect commodity performance.

New Zealand’s Top 5 Commodity Exports

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Concentrated Milk $3.97 billion
Sheep and Goat Meat $1.81 billion
Frozen Bovine Meat $1.59 billion
Aluminium $530 million
Wool $465 million

New Zealand’s Other Notable Exports

  1. Rough Wood – $1.77 billion
  2. Casein – $602 million
  3. Whey – $444 million
  4. Crude Petroleum – $412 million
  5. Gold – $279 million

The top export destinations of New Zealand are China ($6.59 billion), Australia ($5.78 billion), the United States ($3.7 billion), Japan ($2.08 billion) and South Korea ($1.04 billion).

New Zealand’s Top 5 Commodity Imports

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Crude Petroleum $1.78 billion
Refined Petroleum $1.2 billion
Rolled Tobacco $149 million
Wheat $109 million
Bananas $71.3 million

New Zealand’s Other Notable Imports

  1. Cars – $3.37 billion
  2. Delivery Trucks – $1.04 billion
  3. Computers – $882 million
  4. Packaged Medicaments – $628 million
  5. Telephones – $433 million

More Information on New Zealand’s Imports/Exports

Concentrated Milk

Exports of concentrated milk account for 12% of the country’s total annual exports and New Zealand is the world’s biggest exporter with a 26% share of a global market that is worth $15 billion per year.

New Zealand exports more than double the amount of concentrated milk than any other country. Its nearest rival is the United States who has an 8.6% market share, followed by the Netherlands, who controls 8.6% of the global export market, closely followed by Germany on 8.5%.

Sheep and Goat Meat

Sheep and goat meat exports are the second largest export market of New Zealand and account for 5.6% of its total annual exports.

Australia and New Zealand compete for the prime position in this global export market, which is worth $5.65 billion annually. Australia controls 34% of the market, followed by New Zealand on 32%, with the United Kingdom in third place on 7.8%.

Frozen Bovine Meat

Exports of frozen bovine meat represent 4.9% of New Zealand’s total annual exports and the country is the fifth largest exporting country with an 8.3% share of a global market worth $19.1 billion each year.

The United States is a key export destination for New Zealand’s exports of frozen bovine meat and it imports 52% of these exports, followed by China, who accounts for 20% of the total.


The global export market for aluminum is worth $41.7 billion and New Zealand is not among the top fifteen countries who control 74.4% of that market, although, with exports worth $530 million each year, they only just fail to make the list.

Exports of raw aluminum represent 1.6% of the country’s total annual exports.

Japan is a primary destination for New Zealand’s aluminum exports and receives 60% of its annual shipments.


Exports of wool make up 1.4% of the country’s annual export total and New Zealand is the second largest exporter with a 12% share of a global market worth $3.73 billion annually, behind Australia (60%).

Some Interesting Facts About New Zealand

  • New Zealand is one of the least populated countries in the world, despite being the equivalent size to Japan.
  • The country has 2.5 million cars registered for a total population of just over 4 million, making its car ownership rate one of the highest in the world.
  • New Zealand has won more Olympic gold medals per capita than any other country.
  • There are no snakes in the wild in New Zealand.

All figures based on OEC/IMF 2016 calculations and projections unless otherwise stated.

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