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Strong growth in imports March 2000

Overseas Merchandise Trade (Imports): March 2000

Strong growth in imports

Latest statistics for March 2000 show that the trend value for merchandise imports continues to rise strongly. Increased import values of intermediate goods, capital goods and consumption goods have contributed to the imports growth over the last year.

However, seasonally adjusted imports recorded a decrease of 16.6 per cent ($1,361 million) for the March 2000 quarter compared with the previous quarter. This follows an increase of 20.8 per cent in the December 1999 quarter which was particularly high as it included the frigate HMNZS Te Mana, large aircraft and Y2K effects. "This quarter's decrease is a fall back from the high December quarter level rather than an indication that imports have started contracting" said Government Statistician Len Cook.

After adjustment for seasonal factors, imports of intermediate goods decreased by 5.0 per cent ($161 million) in the March 2000 quarter following an increase of 12.9 per cent in the previous quarter. Imports of consumption goods, after adjustment for seasonal factors, increased by 1.8 per cent ($32 million) in the March 2000 quarter following an increase of 4.5 per cent in the previous quarter. The largest contributor to these increases was clothing and other textile articles. Provisional unadjusted merchandise imports for the March 2000 month were $2,488 million.

March 2000 export statistics will be released on 15 May 2000. Preliminary estimates indicate that merchandise exports will be about $2,450 million. The exports trend has risen during 1999 and early 2000 but at a slower rate than the imports trend. The preliminary trade balance for March 2000 is a deficit of about $38 million. For the last ten years, the average trade balance for the month of March, including March 2000, was a surplus of $211 million.

Len Cook

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