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Trade Deficit Up in September

Trade Deficit Up in September

The estimated trade balance for the September 2004 month is a deficit of $1,020 million, or 47.4 percent of exports, according to Statistics New Zealand. The average trade balance for September months during the past 10 years was a deficit of 17.1 percent of exports. The September 2004 estimate is the largest deficit in a nominal dollar value since December 1999.

The import of the frigate HMNZS Te Mana contributed $631 million to the $1,062 million trade deficit (51.0 percent of exports) in December 1999. Trend estimates indicate a widening trade deficit since December 2003.

The larger than usual trade deficit for this month contributed to a quarterly trade deficit of $2,109 million, while on an annual basis, the deficit of $4,087 million for the September 2004 year is the highest recorded.

The seasonally adjusted value of merchandise imports for the September 2004 quarter fell 2.9 percent, following rises in the previous two quarters. All main broad economic categories fell during the quarter, with the exception of industrial transport equipment.

The provisional value of merchandise imports for September 2004 is $3,170 million, up $216 million (7.3 percent) compared with September 2003. Intermediate goods and capital goods were the main contributors to the higher value of imports.

The estimated value of merchandise exports for this month is $2,150 million, down $51 million (2.3 percent) compared with September 2003. Preliminary analysis indicates that the main contributor to the lower value of exports is dairy products.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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