The U.S. overtook Australia as New Zealand’s second-biggest export market last month amid increased demand for wine and meat.

Exports to the U.S. rose to a record 8.8 billion New Zealand dollars ($5.4 billion) in the 12 months through May, Statistics New Zealand said Monday in Wellington. That’s up 8.9% from the year-earlier period. By comparison, annual sales to Australia fell 2.4% from a year earlier to NZ$8.7 billion and have retreated from as high as NZ$9.1 billion in mid-2023.

While China is New Zealand’s largest market, with exports worth NZ$17.9 billion in the year through May — 26% of the total — Australia has comfortably placed second since the late 1980s, boosted by a free-trade agreement and close proximity across the Tasman Sea. The relative strength of the U.S. economy is adding to demand for New Zealand products while the kiwi dollar’s 3.3% decline against the greenback this year has also boosted the value of sales.

The New Zealand dollar is down just 0.4% against the Australia dollar since Jan 2.

Overall, New Zealand’s exports in the month of May rose to a record NZ$7.2 billion, with sales to the U.S. reaching a record NZ$1.02 billion.

U.S. buyers snapped up more wine, dairy products and meat in May, the statistics agency said, while Australian customers bought less mechanical machinery.

May is typically a peak time for exports because it is the height of the fruit and vegetable season following the southern hemisphere summer, the statistics agency said. Wine exports surged 38% from May last year, it said.