The U.S. overtakes Australia as New Zealand’s second-largest export market.

The U.S. overtook Australia as New Zealand’s second-largest export market last month due to increased demand for wine and meat. Exports to the U.S. rose to a record 8.8 billion New Zealand dollars (USD 5.4 billion) in the 12 months through May, an 8.9% increase from the previous year, according to Statistics New Zealand. In contrast, annual sales to Australia dropped 2.4% to NZD 8.7 billion, down from a peak of NZD 9.1 billion in mid-2023.

While China remains New Zealand’s largest market with exports worth NZD 17.9 billion (26% of the total) in the year through May, Australia has held the second spot since the late 1980s, supported by a free-trade agreement and proximity across the Tasman Sea. The robust U.S. economy and a 3.3% decline in the kiwi dollar against the greenback this year have boosted U.S. demand for New Zealand products.

The New Zealand dollar has only declined 0.4% against the Australian dollar since January 2.

Overall, New Zealand’s exports in May reached a record NZD 7.2 billion, with sales to the U.S. hitting a record NZD 1.02 billion. The statistics agency noted that U.S. buyers increased their purchases of wine, dairy products, and meat, while Australian customers reduced their imports of mechanical machinery.

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