Land-based industries see New Zealand through tough COVID times - NZIER Insight 90

21 July 2020

By Chris Nixon

Land-based industries (livestock, forestry and horticulture) have performed well over the lockdown period and as the Covid-19 crisis has continued overseas, NZIER find in an Insight released today.

“Our land-based industries have proven themselves to be exceptionally resilient, particularly when it comes to trade” said Chris Nixon, Principal Economist and lead author of the report.

A mixture of strong demand from Asia (particularly China), flexible supply chains that suit commodity products, and strong institutions that govern food processing have all contributed to New Zealand’s strong trading results throughout the COVID-19 pandemic so far. Dairy, meat and horticulture are up by nearly $1 billion year-to-date relative to this time in 2019.

“Not only has demand for New Zealand products remained solid, the outlook for all land-based industries looks strong. Supporting this growth are the flexibility of our supply chains and the institutions that govern the rules around food processing” commented Chris Nixon.

Nixon warns that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues New Zealand must remain vigilant to how it impacts trade globally.

“A reduction in consumption of retail goods in the US could have an impact on Asian demand and incomes. This may mean that other countries have less to spend on New Zealand products and services”.

However, New Zealand’s exposure to North American markets is limited because their commodity markets are fiercely protected. Also, recessions tend not impact on commodity products relative to consumer products. These factors have acted in our favour during COVID”.

“Inward-looking US and European Union trade policies mean that we have to tread carefully in the new trade policy world” said Nixon.

For other COVD-19 Insights in this series, see here.