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Upturn in Exports Trend Confirmed

Upturn in Exports Trend Confirmed

The updated provisional value of merchandise exports for January 2004 is $2,041 million, which is virtually unchanged when compared with January 2003, according to Statistics New Zealand. The underlying trend for the value of merchandise exports has increased 3.0 percent since August 2003, despite the exchange rate having appreciated 6.0 percent over this period.

Although the exports trend is increasing, the imports trend is increasing at a faster rate, causing the trade deficit to continue widening.

The main contributors to this month's higher value of exports were frozen beef, racehorses, dairy produce, still white wine, and ships and boats. These higher values were mostly offset by exported crude oil; wool; sheep and lamb skins; and fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

A rise in the value of frozen, boneless beef exports contributed half of the higher value of meat and edible offal exports this month, when compared with January 2003. The number of cattle slaughtered for export was 13.4 percent higher over the same period. Rises in the value of exported frozen lamb and sheep cuts were recorded this month, with slaughter numbers for export also higher.

The provisional value of merchandise imports for January 2004 is $2,591 million, confirming the trade deficit as $550 million or 27.0 percent of exports, which is the largest January deficit as a percentage of exports since January 1986.

For the year ended January 2004, the updated value of merchandise exports is $28,363 million, down 7.9 percent, when compared with the year ended January 2003. This confirms the annual trade deficit as $3,616 million, or 12.7 percent of exports.

Ian Ewing

Acting Government Statistician

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