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December Quarter Imports Flat

Overseas Merchandise Trade (Imports): December 2001

The value of seasonally adjusted imports showed little change in the December 2001 quarter when compared with the previous quarter, according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. This follows a 1.3 percent fall in the September 2001 quarter. A fall in intermediate goods (goods, including crude oil, imported for further processing) imports was partly offset by a rise in capital transport equipment imports.

The seasonally adjusted import value of intermediate goods decreased 6.9 percent in the December 2001 quarter, compared with the previous quarter. The volatile crude oil series was the main contributor to the decrease in the value of intermediate goods. Crude oil values decreased due to a fall in both volumes and prices this quarter.

The volatile capital transport equipment series increased in value by 80.2 percent ($223 million) compared with the September 2001 quarter. This reflects the rise in imports of aircraft and parts compared with the previous quarter.

The provisional value of merchandise imports for the December 2001 month is $2,564 million. The early estimate for December 2001 merchandise exports is $2,590 million. This gives a merchandise trade surplus of $26 million for the month, compared with a deficit of $71 million for the December 2000 month. If confirmed, this would be the first December month surplus since 1996. Detailed statistics and an updated exports total for December 2001 merchandise exports will be released on 13 February 2002.

For the year ended December 2001, the provisional value of merchandise imports is $31,700 million, an increase of 3.1 percent ($964 million) from the December 2000 year. Excluding imported items valued at $100 million or more each (such as large aircraft and ships), the annual increase is 5.1 percent ($1,524 million).

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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