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Trade Balance Returns to Deficit

28 June 2006

Trade Balance Returns to Deficit

After recording trade surpluses for the past two months, the balance of overseas merchandise trade for May 2006 returned to a deficit, of $104 million (2.8 percent of exports), Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the largest deficit ever recorded for a May month and only the third in the last 20 years. Over the past decade the average trade balance for May has been a surplus of $274 million (10.1 percent of exports).

During May 2006, both imports and exports showed large increases (24.3 percent and 24.0 percent, respectively) compared to May 2005. Large value single items contributed about a third of the total increase in both imports and exports. Imports for May 2006 are valued at $3,753 million. The majority of the $735 million increase on May 2005 came from petroleum and products (mostly diesel and crude), and aircraft.

Aircraft was also a large contributor to the increase in exports for May 2006, which were valued at $3,649 million, the highest on record for any month. However, for the third month in a row the commodity with the greatest increase was milk powder, butter and cheese, which was up $213 million on May 2005.

During 2006, monthly trends continue to show both imports and exports increasing.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

ENDS

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