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Balance of Payments Remains Steady

Balance of Payments: March 2000 quarter

The March 2000 quarter current account balance recorded a deficit of $1,015 million, said Acting Government Statistician Dianne Macaskill. This was $1,933 million lower than the deficit recorded in the December 1999 quarter. However, if the effect of the seasonal increases in export earnings and the one-off impact of the frigate HMNZS Te Mana are removed, the fall in the deficit would have been $166 million.

The estimate of the trend in the current account balance has remained relatively flat over the latest three quarters, following a period of increasing deficits since the December 1997 quarter. The latest quarterly trend figures reflect a reducing goods and services deficit being balanced by an increasing income and transfers deficit.

The reduction in the goods and services deficit trend over the latest three quarters has been dominated by the goods balance, with exports of goods increasing at a faster rate than imports of goods. The deficit on the services balance trend has also decreased over the same period, driven by increased exports of travel services. This reflects higher numbers of overseas visitors to New Zealand.

The deficit trend in the income and transfers balance has been gradually increasing since the March 1998 quarter and is being driven by the increase in the income earned on foreign investment in New Zealand. The trend on the current transfers balance continues to remain stable within the $100 - $200 million surplus band it has occupied since the March 1997 quarter.

The current account deficit for the year ended March 2000 was $8,542 million. This compares with a $8,256 million deficit for the year ended December 1999 and a $5,697 million deficit for the year ended March 1999.

Dianne Macaskill

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