Caution continues to be the watchword Many of New Zealand's core markets continued to remain nervous over December, putting any Christmas export surge on hold. Exports have remained around the 4 200 tonnes level for the past three months, but higher prices did at least help earnings. December's fry export were 37.1% lower than a year ago, but with average prices 10.4% higher, at NZ$ 1 439/tonnes (US$1 031/t; C852/t), earnings were only 30.5% lower for the month at NZ$ 6million (US$4.3m; €3.6m). Total earnings for the year are 21.3% down at NZ$ 79.4 million (US$56.9m; €47m).
Sales to New Zealand's largest customer, Australia, continue to hold at 2,433 tonnes, which is 47.5% lower than a year ago. The improvements in sales at the start for the year have failed to continue over the second half. Australia's purchases for the 12 months are 8.9% lower at 40,477 tonnes, against an overall export performance which is down 20.8% at 60,519 tonnes.
The price to Australia is now 13.4% more than a year ago at NZS 1 433/tonne (US$1 027/t; 049/0, which is NZ$ 200/tonne more than it was in late spring and early summer. Trade was better In the other direction. Australia's exports of fries to New Zealand in December were the largest they have been all year, reaching 1,097 tonnes, nearly double last December's volume. The price was higher too, at NZ$ 1 900/tonne (US$ 1 361/t; €1125/t).
Thailand showed more of the party mood, taking 463 tonnes of New Zealand fries in December, an increase of 63% on a year ago. The business was helped by a price which was a2% lower at NZ$1 329/tonne (US$952/t; €787/t). Sales to the Philippines were down 77% on a year ago at just 111 tonnes, and Malaysian sales were also well down on recent months at 52 tonnes. But Taiwan and Japan offered more encouragement. Sales to Taiwan were 9.1% higher at 108 tonnes and Japan was 18.5% higher at 224 tonnes. Both are enjoying lower prices than a year ago.
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