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Downward Trend in Balance of Payments Deficit

Balance of Payments and International Investment Position: June 2001 quarter

Downward Trend in Balance of Payments Deficit Continues

The June 2001 quarter's Balance of Payments deficit was $297 million, according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. This is the lowest June quarter figure since 1993. The trend estimate has now shown a pattern of falling current account deficits for the past six quarters, bringing the country's payments more into line with its receipts.

The June 2001 quarter's current account has been affected by three main factors. The first major influence is the goods surplus increase of $675 million from the March 2001 quarter to reach $1,792 million in the June 2001 quarter. This increase is being driven by exports of goods increasing more than imports, with export values being pushed higher by earnings from dairy and meat products.

The second factor is the recent stability of the income deficit at around the $2 billion level. The third influence is a reducing services deficit, driven by New Zealanders spending less on overseas holidays and by increased earnings from growing tourist numbers.

The financial account in the June 2001 quarter has recorded a net outflow from New Zealand of $342 million. This is mainly due to New Zealand fund managers and other New Zealand financial institutions increasing investment in foreign portfolio assets, with $1.1 billion invested during the quarter in equities.

New Zealand's balance sheet with the rest of the world recorded a net International Investment Position of negative $87.6 billion at June 2001, an increase of $3.2 billion on the March 2001 position. This increase is largely the result of revaluation changes that occurred in New Zealand's international assets and liabilities and a $4.4 billion decrease in New Zealand's international financial derivative assets.

Brian Pink Government Statistician END

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