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Merchandise Trade Deficit Confirmed


Merchandise Trade Deficit Confirmed

The provisional value of merchandise exports for January 2003 is $2,042 million, $2 million higher than the estimate published on 28 February, according to Statistics New Zealand. Merchandise imports are $2,439 million, giving a merchandise trade deficit of $397 million, or 19.5 percent of merchandise exports for the month. The trade balance for the January months in the previous 10 years has ranged from a deficit of 17.5 percent to a surplus of 7.5 percent, the average being a deficit of 2.8 percent.

Monthly trend values indicate that exports have generally declined since March 2002. Imports are relatively flat, resulting in a widening deficit for the latest eight months.

The New Zealand dollar has risen against all our major trading partners' currencies for five consecutive months, exerting a downward influence on export prices.

Meat and dairy products are the main contributors to the lower export value in January 2003, when compared with January 2002. Exports to Australia are down $71 million (15.6 percent), as the January 2002 figures included irregular, high-value re-exports of aircraft and exports of ship parts. Exports to the United Kingdom and the United States of America are also lower but are partly offset by higher exports to the People's Republic of China.

For the year ended January 2003, the updated merchandise exports value is $30,809 million, down 5.5 percent from the January 2002 year.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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