| Information about the Overseas Merchandise Trade (Imports and Exports)|
|Valid From: ..||01/01/1826 |
|To: .. || Ongoing|
Purpose: The purpose of the Overseas Merchandise Trade statistics is to provide statistical information on the importing and exporting of merchandise goods between New Zealand and other countries.
General Information ..
1. Source of Data
Questionnaires: N/A as Overseas Merchandise Trade statistics are sourced from Customs documentation.
Data is obtained from export and import entry documents lodged with the New Zealand Customs Service (NZCS). The data is processed and passed to Statistics NZ for further editing and compilation.
2. Time of recording
Exports are compiled by date of export. Prior to August 1997, exports were generally compiled according to date of clearance by NZCS. This meant that some goods were allocated to the month following their actual month of export. Exports up to July 1997 that were not processed until August 1997 were assigned to the month of August 1997.
From 1 March 2004, NZCS do not allow goods to be loaded for export until an export entry has been lodged and cleared. A study undertaken in 2001/02 indicated that export entries not being lodged might account for between 1 and 3 percent of exports at that time. There is a possibility that the change in NZCS processes may have reduced this under coverage, although this has not been quantified.
Imports are generally compiled by date of entry clearance by NZCS. NZCS entries are required from up to five days before, to 20 working days after, arrival of goods into New Zealand. The exception to this rule is for crude oil imports, which can have entries lodged later than 20 working days after entry into New Zealand.
Crude oil values for the latest month are estimated using actual quantities and country of origin data (provided by NZCS, based on information from the refinery at Marsden Point), together with estimated prices. These estimates for crude oil are replaced once actual entries are lodged with NZCS. While all entries are provisional for the latest three months, and have the potential to be changed by the importer/exporter within this period, changes are not common, and generally do not have a material impact on the results. However, New Zealand has only a few ships carrying crude oil arriving each month, and each ship represents a high proportion of the monthly total of imported crude oil. Any variation in the data for crude oil resulting from a later lodgement date can result in a significant revision to the value. Once actual lodgements are received by Statistics NZ from NZCS, the value for crude oil can be regarded as robust.
3. Area Covered
For the purpose of overseas trade statistics, "New Zealand" includes the North, South, and Stewart Islands as well as the Antipodes, Auckland, Bounty, Campbell, Kermadec and Chatham Islands, Ross Dependency in Antarctica and the Snares.
For cargo statistics "New Zealand" includes recognised ports within the North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands.
4. System of Recording
Overseas trade statistics include all merchandise imported into or exported from New Zealand. The system is known as the "general "system of recording trade statistics as defined in UN. statistical papers M52.
5. Basis of Valuation
6. Exchange rates
Exports (including re-exports) are valued free on board (fob), which is the value of goods at New Zealand ports before export, and are shown in New Zealand dollars. Values given in foreign currencies are converted by Statistics New Zealand into New Zealand dollars using weekly exchange rates when the statistics are compiled. Re-exports are exported goods which were earlier imported into New Zealand and which include less than 50 percent New Zealand content by value.
Imports are valued in New Zealand dollars for both vfd (value for duty) and cif (cost including insurance and
freight). These values are converted from the foreign currency when import documents are processed by the New Zealand Customs service. The exchange rates used are set by the Customs department on a fortnightly basis.
Customs duty is based on vfd, which is the value of imports before the addition of insurance and freight costs. The vfd value equates approximately with the fob value of the goods in the exporting country. However the cif value of imports is preferred for most economic analysis purposes as it is the actual cost paid by importers.
Trade balance values are calculated by deducting imports (CIF) from exports (FOB). These two valuations are not entirely comparable, because the CIF valuation includes insurance and freight to New Zealand while the FOB valuation excludes insurance and freight from New Zealand.
Export values given in foreign currencies are converted by Statistics New Zealand into New Zealand dollars, using weekly exchange rates when the statistics are compiled. For exports, a rise in the New Zealand dollar has a downward influence on prices, quantities and values.
Import values are converted from foreign currencies when import documents are processed by NZCS. The exchange rates used are set by NZCS each fortnight. These rates are prepared 11 days prior to the start of the fortnight, so have a lag of 11 to 25 days compared with the daily rates published by the Reserve Bank. For imports, a rise in the New Zealand dollar has a downward influence on prices and an upward influence on quantities. The combined influence on values can be either positive or negative.
7. Merchandise Trade
Merchandise trade includes goods which add to or subtract from the material resources in New Zealand as a result of their movement in or out of the country.
goods consigned to New Zealand forces overseas or diplomatic representatives overseas
goods consigned for modification or repair
currency transactions in gold, silver, current coin
consignments valued under $1,000
second hand clothing for foreign aid projects
replacements, short-shipped or short-packed goods
returnable containers and returnable samples
aircraft parts for use in New Zealand aircraft overseas and unserviceable parts removed from foreign aircraft and being returned overseas
temporary trade items and tourist effects leaving New Zealand
temporary imports into New Zealand such as tourist effects, returnable samples and containers, transit goods
fish landed by New Zealand vessels
goods (other than motor vehicles) for officials of overseas countries
passenger baggage imported permanently
consignments valued under $1,000
currency transactions in gold, silver, current coin
goods on loan
replacements, short shipped or short packed goods recorded previously
goods imported for use by foreign armed forces
Imports are classified
· according to the country of export, which is the country from where the goods were initially despatched to New Zealand.
· and according to the country of origin, which is the country of manufacture.
Exports are classified
· to the country of final destination as shown on the export declaration.
Commodities are classified according to the New Zealand Harmonised System Classification (NZHSC), which is aligned to the New Zealand Customs Tariff.
The NZHSC was revised, from the January 2012 reference month, to incorporate changes promulgated by the World Customs Organisation. Details can be found in the Overseas Merchandise Trade: January 2012 Hot Off The Press released on 27 February 2012.
Standard International Trade Classification
The Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) is an output classification (using HS codes at the 6-digit level as building blocks), designed by the United Nations as an analytical tool for economic analysis, which includes some simple implications regarding level of processing. Published figures are at a high level of aggregation: more disaggregated information is available on Infoshare. For customised jobs using the SITC Rev 4 classification, contact customer services at: email@example.com.
Broad economic category groups
Broad economic category (BEC) groups are arranged, as far as practicable, to align with the System of National Accounts’ three basic classes: capital goods, intermediate goods and consumption goods. Commodities in BEC groups are categorised on the basis of their main end use. This means, for example, that all video recorders are treated as consumption goods even though some are used in business. Similarly, all helicopters are treated as transport equipment even though some are military goods (and are treated as such in the National Accounts).
Level of processing (LOP)
This level of processing classification (LOP) was constructed by Statistics New Zealand, and uses the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) as its base. SITC is constructed using the New Zealand Harmonised System Classification (NZHSC) which is in turn based on the International Harmonised System. The New Zealand Customs Tariff is aligned to the NZHSC.
9. Trend series
Time series can be split into trend, seasonal and irregular components. Seasonal adjustment removes the seasonal component, while trend estimation removes the seasonal and irregular components. Trend estimates reveal the underlying direction of movement in a series and are used to identify turning points.
The trend series are calculated using X-12-ARIMA, which adjusts for outlying values and uses a centred moving average. The length of the centred moving average is selected automatically and can be 9, 13 or 23 months, depending on the relative variability of the irregular component compared with the trend. A long moving average has the effect of smoothing the trend series but slowing the response to underlying changes in growth rates, while a short moving average produces a trend series that is less smooth but quicker to identify turning points.
To improve estimation of the underlying movement, the imports trend is calculated after removal of individual import items that have CIF values of $100 million or more, such as large aircraft and ships. The trade balance trend is calculated by subtracting the imports trend from the exports trend.
Trend figures are recalculated each month. The use of new monthly data means that previously published trend estimates are subject to revision. These revisions affect mainly the latest months and can be large if a trade value is initially treated as an outlier but is later found to be part of the underlying trend.
The estimation process for the seasonally adjusted and trend series for imports and exports has been updated. These estimates are based on data from March 1999 only whereas previously, data from January 1988 was used. This is to ensure that the time series outputs are not unduly influenced by data from too far in the past. As a result the series before March 1999 is no longer subject to revision. The 23-month fixed filter that was used for the trend estimation for exports has also been removed. Due to these changes it is expected that the trend series will generally be able to indicate turning points earlier than was previously the case.
10. Seasonally adjusted series
These are calculated monthly and for calendar quarters, using X-12-ARIMA.
Seasonal adjustment removes the estimated impact of regular seasonal events, such as pre-Christmas purchasing, from time series. This makes the figures for adjacent periods more comparable. Seasonally adjusted figures are estimates and are subject to revision each period, with the largest changes generally occurring in the latest periods. Further information is on the Statistics NZ website.
11. Seasonally adjusted and trend series published
Monthly and quarterly, seasonally adjusted and trend series, are published for total exports and imports, and most, major export and import commodity categories, as well as by Broad Economic Category (BEC) for imports. Some major commodity categories cannot be seasonally adjusted as they do not have a stable seasonal pattern. Series that cannot be seasonally adjusted include, exports of crude oil, and aluminium and aluminium articles, and imports of petroleum and products (including crude oil), and the BEC import category for transport equipment.
12. Confidential items
Under Section 37A (d) of the Statistics Act, the Government Statistician may disclose details of external trade, movement of ships, and cargo handled at ports. However, Statistics New Zealand understands that the release of merchandise trade commodity information can, in some cases, place commercially sensitive information in the public domain. This can have detrimental effects upon companies that export and/or import goods. In light of such circumstances, Statistics New Zealand is able to provide a limited form of confidential status for commodity items (at the discretion of the Government Statistician) upon application by a company or business.
In practice, all confidential HS codes are aggregated into the code 9809.00.00.00 in order to protect their confidentiality and to maintain total export and import values. Any aggregations of Harmonised System (HS) codes below this level, which encompass confidential 10 digit codes, exclude the confidential value(s) for these codes.
The only aggregates that include the confidential codes are total exports, total imports, and the total exports and imports by country.
Further information on overseas trade confidentiality can be found at www.stats.govt.nz/trade.
Overseas Merchandise Trade (OMT) statistics are compiled in close accordance with the United Nations' International Merchandise Trade Statistics Concepts and Definitions. OMT data, after adjustment, is used in the Balance of Payments and National Accounts. The adjustments are for coverage, timing, valuation and classification, and are explained in the Balance of Payments – Sources and Methods 2004 publication.
Information obtained from Statistics NZ may be freely used, reproduced, or quoted unless otherwise specified. In all cases Statistics NZ must be acknowledged as the source.
While care has been used in processing, analysing and extracting information, Statistics NZ gives no warranty that the information supplied is free from error. Statistics NZ shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of any information, product or service.
Timed statistical releases are delivered using postal and electronic services provided by third parties. Delivery of these releases may be delayed by circumstances outside the control of Statistics NZ. Statistics NZ accepts no responsibility for any such delays.
Output variables are pieces of individual information that can be extracted from the survey/output data. Often output variables can be cross tabulated with other output variables, for example sales by industry classification. The list below contains all current and past output variables which have been released for this survey/output.
A complete list of overseas ports, New Zealand ports and quantity variables is available from Statistics New Zealand on request.
Changes in Output Variables over time
|Trade type||Exports, re-exports, exports + re-exports or imports|
|New Zealand port ||The port in New Zealand the commodity is loaded or unloaded at. |
|Overseas port||The foreign port that the commodity is loaded or unloaded at. |
|Country ||The country of destination (for exports), the country of origin (for imports) or the country of export (for imports).|
|HS classification||There are about 18,600 commodity codes (10 digits long) in 97 chapters (2 digits long), covering all types of goods.|
(Of the 18,600 10-digit codes, 13,300 are current and 5,300 are obsolete.)
|Value||For exports: FOB (Free On Board)|
For imports: VFD (Value For Duty) or CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight)
|Quantity||There are a number of different quantity units for commodities. |
Guide to Interpreting Data
Summary of Changes to Survey/Output ..1826
Export and Import totals first became available in 1826.
In 1855, country data for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, also became available.
From the late 1800s, more country data became available.
The Customs Department compiled the export and import statistics right through to 1961.
From 1962, the Statistics Department assumed the role of compiling the export and import statistics.
From 1 July 1962 to 30 June 1967, the New Zealand Customs Tariff was arranged in accordance with the Standard International Trade Classification (Revised). The statistics were published in an identical arrangement of the SITC (Revised).
On 1 July 1967, a new Customs Tariff became effective and was based on a completely different classification - the Brussels Tariff Nomenclature (BTN).
Statistics were published according to the BTN (as adapted for New Zealand Trade) and the SITC. The SITC was identical to the BTN at the international four digit level, but adapted to New Zealand requirements at the seven digit level.
In July 1978, the Customs Co-operation Council Nomenclature (CCCN) was introduced as the classification for the collection from source documentation and the standard International Trade Classification Revision 2 (SITC Revision 2) for the publication of the data.
Both these classifications were the expanded versions of the previously used BTN and SITC Revised, respectively.
CASPER (Customs and Statistics processing of entries and retrieval system) was introduced in 1981 and is an automated system of capturing import data. Export data is still being done on paper entries.
In 1986, the minimum value on export/import entries that were processed, increased from $200 to $1,000.
Up to 31 December 1987, exports and imports were recorded initially under the CCCN (Customs Co-operation Council Nomenclature).
They were subsequently converted on a one-to-one basis to the New Zealand Statistical Classification of export/imports.
Both statistical classifications were based on the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) (Revision 2).
From 1 January 1988, the international Harmonised System (HS) replaced the CCCN and the SITC (Revision 2) was replaced by the SITC (Revision 3). From that date, the domestic HS customs tariff catered for both exports and imports.
The HS customs tariff utilises a ten digit numeric and 1 digit alpha code to identify commodities at the statistical key (lowest) level and contains approximately 12,500 items.
Effective from the January 1996 reference month, nearly 2,000 commodity codes in the New Zealand Harmonised System Classification (HS) were changed.
In July 1997, Customs introduced its newly integrated information technology system. The Customs Modernisation project (CusMod) covered not only importing and exporting but also passenger clearance, revenue collection, and intelligence analysis. The major effect of the CusMod system will have on Trade statistics will be new EDI export entries and enhanced import entries.
From August 1997, exports are recorded by month of export. This change was made when the New Zealand Customs Service brought in new processing systems. Exports up to July 1997 that were not processed until August 1997 fell between the old and new recording systems. To keep these exports in trade statistics they were assigned to the month of August 1997. Imports are still recorded in the calendar month in which documents are processed by New Zealand Customs Service.
Commodity codes were revised. The New Zealand Harmonised System Classification (HS) was revised to incorporate changes promulgated by the World Customs Organisation. At the 10-digit commodity code level, 1,147 new codes were introduced while 909 codes became obsolete. Most code changes were effective from the January 2002 reference month. Changes to HS Chapters 48, 97 and 98 were delayed until the April 2002 reference month.
Effective from 1 January 2007, the New Zealand Harmonised System Classification (HS) has been substantially revised to reflect changes made to the HS by the World Customs Organisation. There are a considerable number of changes at the four, six and 10 digit levels of the classification because of HS2007, resulting in 16 HS chapters having some change in coverage. These HS chapters are: 28, 29, 30, 32, 35, 37, 38, 39, 41, 43, 60, 69, 74, 84, 85 and 90. These changes will create some discontinuity in time series between data up to December 2006 and that from January 2007 onwards. It is impossible to estimate the extent of the changes in values but it is expected to be minimal at the chapter level.
SITC (Revision 3) was replaced by the SITC (Revision 4). Rev 4 concords to the most recent versions of the Harmonised System (HS2002 and HS2007).
The New Zealand Standard Trade Classification – Level of Processing (LOP) was approved in 2008 as a standard output classification for publishing overseas trade data. Its purpose is to give an indication of how processed New Zealand’s imports and exports are, and whether value is being added to products domestically or overseas. The LOP classification was developed by Statistics NZ's overseas trade team in response to requests for this type of breakdown from public and private sector stakeholders.
November 2010: The estimation process for the seasonally adjusted and trend series for imports and exports has been updated. These estimates are based on data from March 1999 only whereas previously, data from January 1988 was used. This is to ensure that the time series outputs are not unduly influenced by data from too far in the past. As a result the series before March 1999 is no longer subject to revision.
The 23-month fixed filter that was used for the trend estimation for exports has also been removed. Due to these changes it is expected that the trend series will generally be able to indicate turning points earlier than was previously the case.
Effective from 1 January 2012, the New Zealand Harmonised System Classification (HS) has been substantially revised to reflect changes made to the HS by the World Customs Organisation. At the 10-digit commodity code level, 1,468 new codes were introduced while 1,050 codes became obsolete. All HS code changes were effective from the January 2012 reference month. For information on the HS2012 changes, see www.stats.govt.nz/trade-hs2012
Usage and Limitations of the Data ..Uses of Overseas Trade Data
Limitations of Overseas Trade Data
- to help make business decisions
- enable representative organisations to protect the interests of their members
- to make policy decisions
- to identify potential new export markets
- to monitor the performance of the New Zealand economy
- examine trade trends
- to compile key economic indicators such as the Balance of Payments and National Accounts
Considerable reliance is placed on exporters/importers and their agents providing correct data, but before it is compiled and released by Statistics New Zealand it is validated and detected errors are corrected. The focus of these checks is to authenticate the publication of trade data by harmonised system chapter level (two digit HS) and country totals in the monthly Statistics NZ Hot off the Press releases. Overseas merchandise trade data is available at lower levels of aggregation down to 10 digit HS code in many cases via Infoshare. Care should be taken in using trade data below the two digit HS chapter level or any of the lower levels within other trade classifications, as it may contain errors of omissions which have not been detected by editing processes within Statistics NZ.
The apportioned gross weight field is an estimate only and should be treated with caution. The need for estimation arises because gross weight is received at total consignment level (the total entry), rather than for each item (each line in an entry). We apportion this total gross weight across each item in the entry. This provides us with an estimated gross weight in kg for all lines, including those whose kg weight is supplied.
Related Data Sources ..Overseas Trade Indexes, Overseas Cargo Statistics
The only aggregates that include the confidential codes are total exports, total imports, and the total exports and imports by country. Refer to the section above in general information on confidential items for more detail.
Sampling Errors ..N/A
Non-sampling errors Data can be entered incorrectly upon Custom entries, the most common errors occur with the imputation of incorrect quantity or value data on Customs entries or the use of an incorrect HS item code.
Caveats on Release ..Late delivery of import documentation to the New Zealand Customs Service for crude oil has necessitated the use of estimates in order to reduce the difference between provisional statistics and final statistics. These estimates are based on the information Statistics New Zealand has available at the time of release.
Overseas merchandise trade statistics are released as provisional for three months, becoming final on the fourth release of the data. For more information, see Why overseas merchandise trade data can change.
On request Statistics New Zealand can produce tabular analysis. Variables available include the following:
Country of destination
Port of loading
Port of discharge
Over 13,000 current 10-digit commodity codes. Also aggregates at 6-digit, 4-digit and 2-digit are available.
Country of origin
Port of loading
Port of discharge
Over 13,000 current 10-digit commodity codes. Also aggregates at 6-digit, 4-digit and 2-digit are available.
The cost of customised jobs is available upon request.
Catalogue & Reference Numbers
|INFOS: ||exm.s*, rxm.s*, imm.s*, exim.s*, exp*.s*, imim.s*, imp*.s*, bec*.s*|
NZHSC - New Zealand Harmonised System Classification
Glossary of Terms
|Produced assets used repeatedly or continuously, for longer than one year, in industrial production processes. Examples are machinery, trucks and aircraft.
Customs Co-operation Council Nomenclature (pre - 1988 only)
|CER||Closer Economic Relations (with Australia)|
|CIF||Cost, including Insurance and Freight. A value which represents the cost to the importer of purchasing the goods and the insurance and freight to bring the goods wharfside in New Zealand.|
|COD||Country of Destination. The country of destination to which the goods are exported.|
|COE||Country of Export. The country from which the goods were consigned to New Zealand, with or without breaking bulk in the course of the transport, but without any commercial transaction in any intermediate country.|
|Goods used (without further transformation in industrial production processes) by households, government or non-profit institutions serving households.
Country of Origin. The country from which the goods originated or were manufactured.
|D/F||Domestic/Foreign origin of the goods being exported.|
|Exports||Goods of domestic origin exported from New Zealand to another country.|
|FOB||Free On Board. Valuation for exports. The value of the goods at the moment they leave NZ.|
|HS||Harmonised System, the 10-digit harmonised commodity classification.|
|Goods used up or transformed in industrial production processes.
Goods imported into New Zealand.
Information Network for Official Statistics (Statistics New Zealand's computer database of publishable statistics – available online by subscription). This product will be inactive after August 2009, and will be replaced by Infoshare.
Statistics New Zealand's computer database of publishable statistics, available online at http://www.stats.govt.nz/infoshare. Throughout 2009, this product has been released as a free, publicly available replacement for INFOS.
Level of processing
|Merchandise trade ||Goods that add to or subtract from the stock of material resources of New Zealand, as the result of their movement into and out of New Zealand.|
|Non-merchandise trade||Service transactions (e.g. repair trade goods on loan) are classified as non-merchandise trade.|
|NZSIC||New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification|
|Partner country||A country with which New Zealand trades. Can be based on the country of origin or the country of export.|
|Port of loading||Port where goods are loaded onto the vessel/aircraft.|
|Port of lodgement||The Customs port where the exporter has lodged an export entry, not necessarily the port of loading.|
|Port of unloading||Port where goods are unloaded from the vessel/aircraft|
|Provisional data||Data will remain in a provisional state (ie subject to updating) until they are finalised some four months later.|
|Re-exports||Re-exports record goods brought into New Zealand and exported without a ‘substantial transformation’. 50 percent value added is used as a yardstick to measure ‘substantial transformation’; above that level, the goods are classified as domestic exports. Trans-shipment goods are not included. Goods that are re-exported will have previously figured in some form in the import statistics.|
|SITC Rev 4||Standard International Trade Classification, Revision 4|
|Statistical quantity||A unit measurement required for commodities (items) as stated in the Customs Tariff. This measurement is taken on a net basis, ie excluding packaging.|
|Valuation||The basis on which goods imported into or exported from New Zealand are valued.|
|VFD ||Value for Duty. This is the value of which customs duty is based. It equates approximately with the free on board cost of the goods in the exporting country.|
Statistics New Zealand gives no warranty that the information or data supplied contains no errors. However, all care and diligence has been used in processing, analysing and extracting the information. Statistics New Zealand shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the customer consequent upon the use directly, or indirectly, of the information supplied in this product.