Imports of goods in January 2021 declined from the revised December 2020 estimate of $25,998m by $2,626m (-10%) to $23,372m.
In January 2021:
• road vehicles declined $845m (-23%)
• general industrial machinery declined $234m (-16%)
• miscellaneous manufactured articles declined $196m (-13%)
• electrical machinery, declined $168m (-11%)
The decline in road vehicle imports is the first decline since May. Reports of weak global production due to a semi-conductor shortage (used in electrical circuit production) are likely contributing to the decline in road vehicle imports.
The decline in miscellaneous manufactured articles was led by video games and exercise equipment. While a decline in assembled solar arrays and hand-held tools led the drop in electrical machinery.
Other notable declines include:
• office and ADP machines, down $167m (-16%)
• telecommunications and sound equipment, down $155m (-9%)
• specialised machinery, down $143m (-12%)
Laptops, mobile phones and tractors each respectively drove the declines in the categories above.
Agricultural tractors declined $101m (-49%) following record high imports in December. January 2021 is still the third highest month on record despite the substantial fall. The Government’s Instant Asset Write Off Scheme is likely to have influenced the higher than normal tractor imports.
Offsetting the decline:
• petroleum increased $426m (27%)
• medicinal and pharmaceutical products increased $168m (19%)
Diesel led the increase in petroleum, up $185m (27%). Immunological products, which includes items for treating and testing for various types of cancer or immune diseases, drove the increase in medicinal and pharmaceutical products, up $93m (93%).