One last post for the year

I wasn’t planning to write anything of substance today, but after my post yesterday an Australian reader pointed me in the direction of the Australian volume data on exports of services.

So here are two charts: one showing per capita exports of goods for New Zealand and Australia since 1991 (when the New Zealand quarterly population series begins) and the other showing services exports.

services x

In both countries, services export volumes have been fairly moribund for at least the last decade.  Tourism and education exports are the largest components of services exports, and both appear to be quite sensitive to the exchange rate.  But it is interesting that over the full period, real per capita services exports have grown at about the same rate in the two countries (a slightly different picture than in the nominal chart I showed yesterday).

goods x

The goods export picture is very different.  As I pointed out yesterday, total exports per capita have grown materially faster in Australia than in New Zealand. The difference is concentrated in goods exports.  Since 1991, real goods exports per capita from New Zealand have risen by 91 per cent, but those from Australia have risen by 144 per cent.

I’m not about to launch into a lengthy discussion of why, or what it means, but it is hard to get ahead –  or in New Zealand’s case to catch-up or even end the relative decline – when a country’s firms appear to have found it so difficult, and unremunerative, to increase their sales to the rest of the world.

This is my last post for the year.  Writing this blog has been a fascinating and rewarding experience, and I’m grateful to all those who have visited and read my stuff this year, and to those who have taken the time to comment.   Writing things down sharpens one’s own thinking, and I’ve enjoyed engaging with the ideas and people.   I’ll resume blogging at some stage in mid-January.

In the meantime, enjoy the summer break and Christmas celebrations.  For Christians, it is the festival celebration of a stunning truth: that God become man, in the form of a vulnerable child, to reconcile mankind to God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.