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March Quarter Imports Increase

29 April 2002

The value of seasonally adjusted merchandise imports increased by 2.3 percent in the March 2002 quarter according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. Intermediate and consumption goods were the main contributors to this increase, but the increase was partly offset by a decrease in transport equipment imports.

The seasonally adjusted import value of intermediate goods increased by 4.2 percent in the March 2002 quarter, compared with the previous quarter. Crude oil was the main contributor to the increase in the value of intermediate goods. The crude oil values increased due to a rise in quantity this quarter.

The capital transport equipment series decreased in value by 40.8 percent compared with the December 2001 quarter. This reflects a fall in the value of imports of aircraft and parts from the previous quarter.

The provisional value of merchandise imports for the March 2002 month is $2,569 million. The trend in overseas merchandise trade imports has increased for the past five months.

The early estimate for March 2002 merchandise exports is $3,020 million. This results in a merchandise trade surplus of $451 million for the March month, compared with a surplus of $276 million for the February month. The surplus is 14.9 percent of merchandise exports. If confirmed, this surplus would be the largest percentage of merchandise exports for a March month since 1994. Detailed statistics and an updated exports total for March 2002 merchandise exports will be released on 9 May 2002.

Brian Pink Government Statistician

END

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