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Growth In Trade Deficit Slows

Growth In Trade Deficit Slows As Manufactured Exports Increase

Latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show strong growth in exports of non-food manufactured goods. This has led to the merchandise exports trend growing almost as quickly as the merchandise imports trend for the first three months of this year. As a result, expansion in the trade deficit has slowed. Seasonally adjusted exports of non-food manufactured goods increased by 12.7 per cent ($304 million) in the March 2000 quarter.

This was the main contributor to the seasonally adjusted increase of 5.9 per cent ($368 million) recorded for total merchandise exports for the March 2000 quarter. For the previous quarter the seasonally adjusted increase was 2.5 per cent. Seasonally adjusted exports of many major commodities including milk powder, butter and cheese; and meat and edible offal also showed increases in the last three quarters after decreasing in the first half of 1999. The quarterly trend value for exports of logs, wood and wood articles has risen for the last seven consecutive quarters. For March 2000, provisional unadjusted merchandise exports were $2,509 million while imports were $2,488 million.

The value of exports in the March 2000 quarter was 17.8 per cent higher than a year earlier. The monthly trend for merchandise exports has been increasing since December 1998. The provisional unadjusted merchandise trade balance for March 2000 was a surplus of $21 million. During the last ten years, the average trade balance for March months was a surplus of $217 million. The merchandise trade balance for the year ended March 2000 was a deficit of $3,398 million. The low New Zealand dollar has boosted export receipts but has also pushed up import prices.

Len Cook
GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN
END

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