Driven by high exports of milk powder, dairy export volumes boomed 32 per cent in the September quarter to record levels, according to Statistics New Zealand.
However, dairy export prices were down 13 per cent in the same three months, taking overall export prices down more than 6 per cent.
"Dairy export volumes are at record levels, after adjusting for seasonal effects," Statistics NZ prices manager Chris Pike said. "Dairy values remain at high levels, even though export prices have fallen for five consecutive quarters."
After a bumper grass-growing season, dairy products made the largest contribution to a 9.7 per cent total rise in seasonally adjusted export volumes.
Meat export volumes rose 15 per cent.
Meanwhile, import volumes rose 0.7 per cent, led by intermediate and capital goods.
Export prices fell 6.3 per cent, led by dairy prices (down 13 per cent), while import prices fell 3.3 percent, led by a fall in petroleum and petroleum product prices (down 13 per cent).
In the September 2012 quarter, the terms of trade fell 3.2 per cent. A fall in the terms of trade means that fewer imports can be funded by the same quantity of exported goods. The terms of trade are 9.1 per cent lower than a year ago.