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Large Deficit Despite Higher Exports Value

Large Deficit Despite Higher Exports Value

The updated value of merchandise exports for August 2004 is $2,367 million, 2.8 percent higher than in August 2003, according to Statistics New Zealand. The higher value of exports did not offset the higher value of imports, which were up 18.6 percent over the same period. This resulted in an August trade deficit of 30.3 percent of exports, which is the largest August deficit since 1982. The trend for the value of merchandise exports has been rising for 12 consecutive months and is up 9.4 percent over this period. The trend rose steeply over the first nine months since August 2003, but has slowed over recent months.

The main contributor to this month’s higher exports value was a 40.0 percent increase in the value of fruit, with kiwifruit the main driver. Compared with August 2003, the value of exported kiwifruit is up 46.6 percent this month, while the quantity exported is up 5.7 percent. The European Union, the main export destination for kiwifruit, recorded a 61.2 percent increase in value this month compared with August 2003.

Other export commodities that recorded higher values this month were frozen boneless beef cuts; iron and steel articles; unwrought aluminium; mechanical machinery and equipment; and crude oil. Partly offsetting these higher export values were lower values for large aircraft, and milk powder and butter.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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