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March Quarter Export Value Up 5.1 Percent

March Quarter Export Value Up 5.1 Percent

The seasonally adjusted value of merchandise exports increased 5.1 percent during the March 2004 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. The underlying trend for the value of quarterly exports has been increasing for two quarters, following nine consecutive quarters of decline. Over the period of decline, the exchange rate appreciated 25.6 percent. Exchange rate appreciation generally has a downward influence on export prices.

All except one of New Zealand's top 10 export categories recorded increased seasonally adjusted values during the March 2004 quarter. The main contributors to this quarter's rise in value were fruit; meat; logs, wood and wood articles; electrical machinery and equipment; seafood; and milk powder, butter and cheese. Aluminium and aluminium articles was the only commodity group to record a lower value during the current quarter.

During the March 2004 quarter, the seasonally adjusted value of exported meat increased 5.8 percent. The quantities of exported beef and sheep meats both increased during the quarter. The trend in the quantity of exported beef has been increasing since the June 2002 quarter, reflecting the higher number of cattle being slaughtered for export. The trend for the quantity of exported sheep meat increased 3.1 percent in the March 2004 quarter.

The seasonally adjusted value of exported logs, wood and wood articles increased 11.3 percent in the March 2004 quarter, despite the quantity of exported sawn timber and logs having declined 7.3 percent.

The updated value of merchandise exports for the March 2004 month is $2,799 million, up $32 million when compared with March 2003. The merchandise imports value for the March 2004 month is $2,735 million, resulting in an updated trade surplus of $64 million, or 2.3 percent of exports. For the year ended March 2004, the updated value for merchandise exports is $28,615 million, down 5.5 percent when compared with the previous March year. The updated annual trade deficit stands at $3,743 million, or 13.1 percent of exports.

Ian Ewing

Acting Government Statistician

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