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Little Change in September Quarter Export Value

Little Change in September Quarter Export Value

Seasonally adjusted export values showed little change in the September 2003 quarter, when compared with the June 2003 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. This result was similar to the movement recorded for the seasonally adjusted imports value.

The latest quarter's result follows a period of decline in the exports trend, since peaking in the June 2001 quarter. Over the same period, the New Zealand dollar appreciated, which had a downward impact on export prices.

Logs, wood and wood articles were the largest contributor to the decline in seasonally adjusted export values in the September 2003 quarter, decreasing 11.2 percent when compared with the June 2003 quarter. Since a high point in the September 2002 quarter, the trend in export values for logs, wood and wood articles has fallen 25.2 percent, returning to levels similar to those recorded in December 1999. Contributing to falling values this quarter was a 504,000 cubic metre decline (down 18.1 percent) in the quantity of sawn timber and logs exported, when compared with the June 2003 quarter.

An increase in the export value for meat and edible offal offset the decline in the export values for logs, wood and wood articles. The main contributor was chilled fresh beef and veal, which recorded a significant increase (14.9 percent) in export quantities. The number of cattle slaughtered for export this quarter was the highest ever recorded (1.7 million). However, the export trend for meat and edible offal has generally declined since reaching a high point in December 2001.

The updated merchandise exports value for this month was $2,217 million, 8.7 percent lower than the September 2002 month, leading to an updated trade deficit for this month of $734 million or 33.1 percent of exports. Trade deficits for a September month are expected, but this month is the largest since 1984, when the deficit was 45.7 percent of exports. For the year ended September 2003, the merchandise exports value was $28,728 million, 9.3 percent lower than a year earlier. The annual trade deficit was $3,215 million or 11.2 percent of exports.

The provisional value of merchandise imports for the September 2003 month was $2,951 million.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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