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Vehicles Imports Rise

Record values of passenger motor vehicle imports and increased imports of consumption goods have contributed to a 2.7 percent increase in the seasonally adjusted value of merchandise imports in the September 2002 quarter. The deficit of $1,131 million, or 15.3 percent of merchandise exports, is similar to most previous September quarters, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Imports of vehicles, parts and accessories is now the largest commodity group in value. Trend figures show that the value of car imports has increased by 40.7 percent since the December 2000 quarter. The number of new cars imported in the September 2002 quarter is 24.5 percent higher than in the June 2002 quarter and 20.0 percent higher than a year ago. The number of used cars imported has declined since the March 2002 quarter and is now at the same level as the September 2001 quarter. Frontal impact standards for imported used cars were introduced on 1 April this year.

Imports of consumption goods increased 1.3 percent in seasonally adjusted value in the September 2002 quarter, while intermediate goods decreased by 0.7 percent despite a rise in crude oil value. Capital goods showed a 0.5 percent overall increase in value in the September 2002 quarter. The 9.5 percent rise in capital transport equipment was mostly offset by a 2.2 percent decrease in machinery and plant imports.

The provisional value of merchandise imports for the September 2002 month is $2,794 million.

The estimated value of merchandise exports is $2,460 million, giving a merchandise trade deficit of $334 million for the September 2002 month. Detailed statistics for September 2002 merchandise exports will be released on 6 November 2002.

For the year ended September 2002, the provisional value of merchandise imports is $32,143 million, an increase of 0.7 percent from the previous September year. Excluding items individually valued at $100 million or more, such as large aircraft and ships, there was an increase in merchandise imports of 1.1 percent. There have been no imports of individual items exceeding $100 million in value since November 2000.

Brian Pink Government

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