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Higher Imports for May 2003

Higher Imports for May 2003

The provisional value of merchandise imports for May 2003 is $2,634 million, 1.5 percent higher than for May 2002, according to latest figures released by Statistics New Zealand. The main contributor to the higher import value was vehicles, parts and accessories, up 22.7 percent, with a record number of passenger motor cars being imported during the month. Higher values were also recorded for aircraft, petroleum and petroleum products; however, the majority of remaining import commodities recorded lower values, which partly offset the overall increase.

A total of 25,035 new and used cars were imported in May 2003, the highest number recorded for a calendar month. The majority were new and used cars imported from Japan; however, high numbers of new cars from Australia were also recorded over the same period.

The New Zealand dollar was 13.3 percent higher in May 2003 than in May 2002, according to the trade weighted index. A higher exchange rate will generally cause a decrease in the price of imports when measured in New Zealand dollars.

The estimated value of merchandise exports for May 2003 is $2,780 million, resulting in an estimated surplus of $146 million (5.3 percent of exports). Surpluses are normal for a May month and have averaged 14.2 percent of exports for the last 10 years.

For the year ending May 2003, the provisional value of merchandise imports is $31,957 million, down 0.7 percent from the May 2002 year. The estimated value of merchandise exports for the same period is $29,681 million (down 8.7 percent), resulting in an estimated deficit of $2,276 million for the period. Updated and detailed merchandise export statistics will be released on 8 July 2003.

Brian Pink Government Statistician END

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