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Terms of Trade Rise

Overseas Trade Indexes: March 2002 quarter (provisional)

The merchandise terms of trade rose 1.5 percent in the March 2002 quarter, according to the latest Overseas Trade Indexes released by Statistics New Zealand. This rise in the merchandise terms of trade is due to import prices falling more than export prices in the latest quarter, and follows a decrease of 2.1 percent in the December 2001 quarter. A rise in the terms of trade means that more imports can be funded by a fixed quantity of exports.

Prices for merchandise exports decreased 2.3 percent in the March 2002 quarter and import prices fell 3.8 percent. The 4.1 percent rise in the value of the New Zealand dollar in the March 2002 quarter, as measured by the Trade Weighted Index, contributed to the decreases in export and import prices.

Price decreases for dairy products were the main contributor to the fall in export prices in the March 2002 quarter. Price falls were recorded in most of the import series in the latest quarter with a fall in petroleum and petroleum products prices having the greatest impact.

Seasonally adjusted merchandise import volumes rose 3.7 percent in the March 2002 quarter compared with the previous quarter, following a 2.2 percent rise in the December 2001 quarter. Rises in consumption goods and intermediate goods volumes were partly offset by a fall in capital goods volumes.

Seasonally adjusted merchandise export volumes rose 1.1 percent in the March 2002 quarter, following a 1.9 percent fall in the December 2001 quarter. Higher export volumes of dairy products, fish and fish preparations and non-food manufactures were partly offset by lower export volumes of forestry products.

The terms of trade for services rose 1.0 percent in the March 2002 quarter. This was due to services export prices rising and services import prices falling in the latest quarter.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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