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December 2002 Trade Deficit

The provisional value of merchandise imports for the December 2002 month is $2,669 million, according to Statistics New Zealand. The estimated value of merchandise exports is $2,370 million, resulting in a deficit of $299 million for the month. The deficit, at 12.6 percent of exports, is higher than normal for a December month.

The seasonally adjusted value of merchandise imports decreased by 2.2 percent in the December 2002 quarter, following a 2.6 percent increase in the September 2002 quarter. However, the trend series, which smoothes short-term fluctuations, indicates little change in imports in recent months. Falls were recorded in seasonally adjusted imports of intermediate goods and consumption goods, while imports of capital goods increased.

The increase in imports of capital goods for the quarter is largely due to the import of six large aircraft in October, valued in total at more than $200 million.

According to the Trade Weighted Index, the New Zealand dollar was 4.8 percent higher in the December 2002 quarter than in the September 2002 quarter. A rising New Zealand dollar tends to make imports cheaper, and this has an upward influence on the quantity of goods imported.

For the year ended December 2002, the provisional value of merchandise imports is $32,355 million, 2.1 percent higher than for the previous December year.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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