New Zealand exports rose by 11 percent year on year in March, driven by a surge in exports to China, the government statistics agency said on April 28.
Exports hit NZ$4.6 billion ($3.16 billion) last month, said Statistics New Zealand.
Exports to China were valued at NZ$1.1 billion ($756.58 million), up 43 percent, led by dairy and lamb products.
"China continues to be our top destination for goods exports, and accounts for a quarter of the total dairy exports value," international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said in a statement.
"This March, exports to China exceeded NZ$1 billion ($687.8 million) for the first March month since 2014."
The value of total dairy exports rose by NZ$250 million ($171.95 million), or 29 percent, while the quantity rose 6.4 percent.
Imported goods were valued at NZ$4.3 billion ($2.95 billion), up 7.6 percent, giving New Zealand a trade surplus of NZ$332 million ($228.35 million), or 7.1 percent of exports, in March.
This compared with an average surplus of 11 percent of exports for the previous five March months.
The annual trade deficit for the year ended March was NZ$3.7 billion ($2.54 billion), compared with a shortfall of NZ$3.8 billion ($2.61 billion) in the year ended February.
In the quarter ending March, the value of imported goods rose 4.4 percent from the previous quarter to NZ$13.6 billion ($9.35 billion), while the value of exported goods was up 2.4 percent to NZ$12.2 billion ($8.39 billion).
The trade deficit in the March quarter was NZ$1.4 billion ($962.92 million), equivalent to 11 percent of exports.
It was the 12th consecutive quarterly trade deficit and the largest since the September 2008 quarter.