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Trade Surplus Smaller than Usual for February

Trade Surplus Smaller than Usual for February

The estimated merchandise trade balance for February 2003 is a surplus of $21 million or 0.9 percent of exports, according to figures released today by Statistics New Zealand. During the previous 10 years, there have been trade surpluses in February, ranging from 1.6 percent to 19.0 percent of exports.

The merchandise imports trend has been flat in recent months, while the rate of decline in the exports trend has slowed.

According to the trade weighted index, the New Zealand dollar was 1.9 percent higher in February 2003, following a 3.7 percent rise in January. Compared with February 2002, the New Zealand dollar was 19.4 percent higher. An appreciating dollar has a downward influence on domestic prices for both imports and exports.

The provisional value of merchandise trade imports for February 2003 is $2,319 million, 1.0 percent ($23 million) lower than for February 2002. The main contributors to the lower value were mechanical machinery and equipment, electrical machinery and equipment, textiles and textile articles, and sugars and sugar confectionery. These were partly offset by higher values for crude oil, petrol and aircraft.

The estimated value of merchandise exports for February 2003 is $2,340 million, $283 million higher than for February 2002. For the year ended February 2003, the provisional value of merchandise imports is $32,187 million, 0.2 percent higher than for the year ended February 2002. The estimated value of merchandise exports for the year ended February 2003 is $30,526 million, resulting in an estimated deficit of $1,661 million for the period. Detailed merchandise export statistics will be released on 7 April 2003.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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