China now New Zealand’s top trade market

China is now New Zealans’s top export market for the first time, with exports worth $10bn, up 45 per cent from the previous year, as milk powder sales take the lead, according to Statistics New Zealand.

In 2013, 46 per cent of New Zealand’s milk powder exports went to China. The statistics body says New Zealand ran a trade surplus of $523m in December, as exports to China surged, especially for milk powder. The December trade surplus was in line with market forecasts for about $500m, it said.

According to Statistics New Zealand, the trade figures reinforce the fact that New Zealand dairy farm incomes will be flush this season, with a high payout of $8.30 a kg and an expected 10 per cent lift in production, pointing to total dairy incomes close to $5bn this year. It says for December 2013, total exports jumped $658m (16 per cent) compared with the same month last year.