[30 January/Stuff Business]

New data shows that New Zealand exports rose to a record high in 2017 with total exports climbed 11% to $53.7 billion.  With imports increasing 9.4% to $56.5 billion the trade deficit of $2.8 billion was the lowest in three years.  December was the strongest export month of all time for New Zealand.  Half the growth in exports came from China, with total exports to China being $12 billion in 2017, up 27% on the previous year, while exports to Australia grew more modestly at 6.5% to $8.8 billion.  Economists noted that the scale of the surge in exports was unexpected but cautioned that the dryer weather is likely to see the rate of growth of dairy exports slow in coming months.