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December Quarter Exports Down

Overseas Merchandise Trade (Exports): December 2001

The seasonally adjusted value of merchandise exports for the December 2001 quarter is 4.1 percent lower than for the previous quarter, latest Statistics New Zealand figures show. Imports for the same period show little change in seasonally adjusted value.

Milk powder, butter and cheese; casein and caseinates; and electrical machinery and equipment are the largest contributors to the decrease in the seasonally adjusted value of exports for the December 2001 quarter. The seasonally adjusted value of exports of milk powder, butter and cheese is 11.4 percent lower in the December 2001 quarter than in the September 2001 quarter, but still above the levels in 2000. The seasonally adjusted quantity of milk powder, butter and cheese exports is 10.3 percent lower in the December 2001 quarter than in the September 2001 quarter.

Partly offsetting these decreases are increases in the seasonally adjusted export values of meat and edible offal; fruit and nuts; and fish, crustaceans and molluscs in the December 2001 quarter.

The provisional value of merchandise exports for the December 2001 month is $2,587 million. This value is close to the early estimate published on 29 January 2002. Provisional imports for the December 2001 month are valued at $2,564 million, which gives a trade surplus of $23 million (0.9 percent of exports). This is the first December month surplus since 1996.

The monthly trend in the trade balance has flattened in recent months, due to changes in the exports trend being closely matched by changes in the imports trend.

For the year ended December 2001, the merchandise exports value is $32,677 million, an increase of 11.9 percent from the previous December year. The merchandise trade balance for the December 2001 year is a surplus of $977 million.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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