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Trade Surplus Low for May Month

The updated merchandise export value for May 2003 is $2,744 million, according to Statistics New Zealand. The provisional value of merchandise imports for May 2003 is $2,634 million, resulting in a trade surplus of $110 million.

This surplus is 4.0 percent of merchandise exports, compared with an average surplus of 14.2 percent recorded for May months during the previous 10 years. Trade surpluses normally peak each May. Latest trend values show a growing deficit, with the imports trend continuing to increase while the previously declining exports trend is flattening.

The provisional merchandise export value for May 2003 is 11.3 percent lower than the value recorded for May 2002. The higher exchange rate for the New Zealand dollar has a downward influence on export values expressed in New Zealand currency.

According to the trade weighted index, the New Zealand dollar was 13.3 percent higher in May 2003 than May 2002. For the same period, the New Zealand dollar rose 25.2 percent against the United States dollar, contributing to a 22.1 percent lower value of exports to the United States of America in May 2003 compared with May 2002.

For the year ended May 2003, the updated merchandise exports value is $29,631 million, down 8.9 percent from the May 2002 year. The updated annual trade balance is a deficit of $2,325 million for the year ended May 2003. The previous May year showed a surplus of $350 million.

Brian Pink Government Statistician END

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