Exports of milk powder, logs and meat to China continue to rocket, with sales to that country alone up $259 million in February - 49 per cent - compared with the same month last year.
The total value of all exported goods rose $290m (8 per cent) to $3.9 billion in February 2013, led by rising sales to China, Statistics New Zealand said today.
As a result, New Zealand ran a trade surplus of more than $400m in February.
"Milk powder, pine logs, and sheepmeat led the rise in exports to China," Statistics NZ's industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said.
"China drove the overall rise in exports."
The increase was led by whole milk powder, up $106m (80 per cent), with quantities almost twice as much as a year ago. Radiata logs were up $43m and sheepmeat was up $38m on a year ago.
The value of imported goods rose $86m (2.5 per cent) to $3.5b. Consumer goods led the rise, up $90m, while capital goods like machinery and equipment fell $29m.
The trade balance for February 2013 was a surplus of $414m (11 per cent of exports). February months have been in surplus since 2007.
After removing seasonal effects, exports increased 16 per cent in February 2013, compared with January 2013. Milk powder, butter, and cheese led the rise. Seasonally adjusted imports rose 3.9 per cent in February 2013.
For the year ended February 2013, there was an annual trade deficit of $1.1b (2.4 per cent of exports). Eight of the last 10 February years have had trade deficits, but there were surpluses in the February 2011 and February 2012 years.