Meat and dairy sales surging before coronavirus outbreak

New figures show meat and dairy export prices were at record-breaking levels prior to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The outbreak is expected to have an economic impact on the primary sector, after disruption to supply chains in New Zealand's top export market of China.

Just released StatsNZ figures for the December 2019 quarter show meat and dairy boosted the total volume of manufacturing sales to its strongest quarterly rise in six years.

The volume of total manufacturing sales rose 2.7 percent, after a flat September 2019 quarter, when adjusted for seasonal effects. 

It was led by a 7.9 percent lift in meat and dairy products manufacturing sales, following falls in the two previous quarters.

"This quarter's rise is the largest increase in total manufacturing sales volumes in six years," business statistics manager Geraldine Duoba said.

"It coincided with high exports seen for meat and dairy products late in 2019, before the outbreak of coronavirus in China."

The December 2019 quarter (provisional) reported record-breaking levels in meat export prices as well as a sizeable increase in meat export volumes.

Sales volumes for eight of the 13 industries fell slightly in the December 2019 quarter. 

However, the falls were more than offset by the large rise in meat and dairy products and a 12 percent increase in petroleum and coal products. 

Meat and dairy product manufacturing sales values rose 7.4 percent ($649 million), to $9.5 billion in the December quarter.