Despite exporting a higher volume of dairy products in September, export earnings were down compared to the same time the year before, according to the latest figures from Stats NZ.
Milk powder, butter and cheese exports fell $97 million, led by falls in milk fats - including butter, which data shows was down $35 million, and milk powder, which fell $31 million.
"New Zealand exported a greater volume of dairy products in September 2020 than in the same month last year, but received less in return," Nicholas Cox, senior insight analyst at Stats NZ, said on Tuesday.
"The falls in butter and milk powder were price-driven, as the export volumes for both commodities were higher in 2020 by 8 percent and 4 percent, respectively," Cox said, adding that September was "typically a low point in the export season" for dairy products.
Despite the drop in dairy export earnings, ASB economist Nathaniel Keall said the outlook was not all doom and gloom.
"With prices recovering at the last couple of Global Dairy Trade auctions, the outlook for the sector is probably a bit better than this month’s figure would imply," Keall said in the bank's Merchandise Trade report published on Tuesday.
Total goods exports for September were down $350 million - 8 percent - to $4 billion.