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High May Exports Value Confirmed

High May Exports Value Confirmed

The provisional value of merchandise exports for May 2004 is $3,365 million, which is 22.6 percent higher than for May 2003, according to Statistics New Zealand. This is the highest monthly exports value, in nominal terms, ever recorded; it is 4.2 percent higher than the second highest value, which was recorded in May 2001.

The provisional value of imports for May 2004 is $2,712 million, resulting in a trade surplus of $654 million, or 19.4 percent of exports. Although the exports value is a record high, the trade balance in percentage of exports terms is within the normal range. Over the past 10 years, trade balances for May have ranged from a deficit of 1.4 to a surplus of 21.0 percent of exports, with an average of 12.1 percent of exports.

The underlying trend for the value of merchandise exports has been rising since August 2003. Over this time, the exchange rate appreciated 8.6 percent to February 2004, but it has been depreciating since then. Exchange rate appreciation generally has a downward influence on export prices.

The majority of commodities exported during May 2004 recorded higher export values compared with May 2003. The main commodities contributing to this month's higher value of exports were whole milk powder, bulk salted butter and cheese; frozen boneless beef and bone-in lamb cuts; kiwifruit and apples; and re-exports of large aircraft.

Higher values and quantities of exported whole milk powder contributed significantly to the higher value recorded for milk powder, butter and cheese compared with May 2003. The value of exported bulk salted butter is 173.0 percent higher this month compared with May 2003. The quantity of bulk salted butter exported was up 160.7 percent and the value of exported cheese was also higher during the current month.

Exported frozen boneless beef and bone-in lamb cuts both recorded higher values and quantities for the month compared with May 2003. This reflects the relatively high number of cattle and lambs slaughtered for export during April 2004. Both the value and quantity of kiwifruit and apple exports were also up for May 2004.

For the year ended May 2004, the updated value of merchandise exports is $29,418 million, which is 0.8 percent lower than for the year ended May 2003. The updated annual trade deficit stands at $3,371 million or 11.5 percent of exports.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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