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May Trade Balance in Deficit

May Trade Balance in Deficit

The value of merchandise exports for May 2005 is 12.0 percent lower than for May 2004, while the value of imports is 11.0 percent higher, resulting in a trade deficit of $25 million (0.8 percent of exports), Statistics New Zealand said today. The May 2005 deficit is the first trade deficit for a May month since 1995. During the intervening nine years, the average May trade balance was a surplus of $361 million (13.5 percent of exports).

Exports of merchandise goods for May 2005 are provisionally valued at $2,973 million, which is $405 million lower than for May 2004. The main contributors to the reduced exports value for May 2005 are milk powder, butter and cheese; aircraft; meat; and fruit, which all had high values in May 2004.

Imports of merchandise goods for May 2005 are provisionally valued at $2,998 million, which is $297 million higher than for May 2004. Crude oil is the main contributor to the increase in the imports value. Crude oil is imported in large shipments at irregular intervals and can cause fluctuations in the value of imports from month to month.

For the year ended May 2005, the value of exports is $30,796 million, up 4.6 percent from the previous May year. The value of imports is $35,801 million, up 9.2 percent from the previous May year. The trade balance is a deficit of $5,005 million (16.3 percent of exports). As a percentage of exports, this is the largest annual deficit since the mid-1970s.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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