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Merchandise Trade Deficit Confirmed

Merchandise Trade Deficit Confirmed

The provisional value of merchandise exports for August 2002 is $2,402 million, according to updated figures from Statistics New Zealand. Merchandise imports are $2,952 million, giving a merchandise trade deficit of $551 million or 23.0 percent of merchandise exports for the month.

As a percentage of exports, this is the largest deficit for an August month in the latest 10 years, although the August 1996 and 1999 percentages are similar.

Monthly trend figures indicate that exports are declining. The merchandise trade balance shows an increasing deficit over the latest four months.

The export value of milk powder, butter and cheese; and casein and caseinates is lower in August 2002 compared with August 2001. Latest trade data suggests little change in dairy prices in August 2002 compared with July 2002. However, the average export prices for milk powder, butter and cheese; and casein and caseinates have fallen from the highs of last year and are currently below average prices of two years ago.

The August 2002 kiwifruit export value is lower than in August 2001. However, the value of kiwifruit exports for the period January to August 2002 is up 18.7 percent compared with the same eight-month period last year. The quantity of kiwifruit exports for the period January to August 2002 is also up 11.6 percent on the same period last year.

For the year ended August 2002, the updated merchandise exports value is $31,877 million, down 2.5 percent from the August 2001 year.

Brian Pink Government Statistician

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