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Subdued Growth in Imports

Overseas Merchandise Trade (Imports): March 2001

Subdued Growth in Imports

The provisional value of merchandise imports for March 2001 is $2,806 million, according to latest figures released by Statistics New Zealand. Latest trend numbers suggest subdued growth over the last few months. The trend series previously showed a period of no growth, but has been updated with the addition of a high actual value for the March month.

However, the quarterly trend showed a small decrease this quarter. This is because the effect of the high March month value was moderated by low January and February values in the quarterly series.

The value of seasonally adjusted imports dropped 7.8 per cent in the March 2001 quarter when compared with the previous quarter. The fall this quarter was almost entirely due to decreases in imports of intermediate and capital goods.

The value of seasonally adjusted imports of intermediate goods decreased by 7.5 per cent in the March 2001 quarter following an increase of 9.3 per cent in the previous quarter. Both imports of crude oil and other intermediate goods fell. The average price of crude oil imports fell 21.4 per cent in the March 2001 quarter, following seven quarters of increases.

Imports of capital plant and machinery had a seasonally adjusted value decrease of 16.6 per cent in the March 2001 quarter. Unadjusted imports of capital transport equipment decreased by 29.0 per cent in value over the same period.

The value of seasonally adjusted imports of consumption goods decreased by 0.6 per cent in the March 2001 quarter after increasing by 6.2 per cent in the previous quarter.

For the year ended March 2001, the value of merchandise imports is $31,488 million, an increase of 12.8 per cent from the previous March year.

The early estimate for March 2001 merchandise exports is $2,880 million, giving a merchandise trade surplus of $74 million. This compares with a surplus of $35 million for March 2000. The early estimate is subject to revision as estimated late entries are progressively replaced by actual data received by the New Zealand Customs Service. Detailed statistics for March 2001 merchandise exports will be released on 15 May 2001.

Ian Ewing DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

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