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Import Prices Fall More Than Export Prices

Overseas Trade Indexes: September 2001 quarter (provisional)

Prices for both merchandise exports and imports decreased this quarter, according to the latest Overseas Trade Indexes released by Statistics New Zealand. However, import prices fell more than export prices. The total merchandise export price index fell 0.6 per cent and the import price index fell 1.7 per cent in the September 2001 quarter.

As a result, the merchandise terms of trade rose 1.1 per cent in the September 2001 quarter. This follows a fall of 0.4 per cent in the June 2001 quarter. A rise in the terms of trade means that more imports can be funded by a fixed quantity of exports. The terms of trade for services fell 0.6 per cent in the September 2001 quarter.

The appreciation of the New Zealand dollar in the September 2001 quarter contributed to the decreases in export and import prices. The Reserve Bank's Trade-Weighted Index rose 0.5 per cent in the latest quarter. The larger fall in import prices reflects the appreciation of the exchange rate used on the import documentation in the September 2001 quarter.

Price decreases were recorded in the non-food manufacture commodities for exports and most of the main commodities for imports in the latest quarter. Excluding mineral fuels (mainly petroleum and petroleum products) the total import price index fell 1.0 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted merchandise export volumes showed little change in the September 2001 quarter, rising 0.4 per cent. Increased exports of non-food manufactures and forestry products were partly offset by lower pastoral and dairy product volumes.

Merchandise import volumes had a seasonally adjusted decrease of 1.4 per cent in the September 2001 quarter. Imported consumption goods fell 4.2 per cent, following little change in the June 2001 quarter. The volume of intermediate goods (goods, including crude oil, imported for further processing) rose 3.8 per cent and the volatile capital goods volume index rose 3.6 per cent in the latest quarter.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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