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Imports drive larger current account deficit

Imports drive larger current account deficit – Media release

18 December 2013

New Zealand's seasonally adjusted current account deficit was $2.6 billion in the September 2013 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is a $0.3 billion larger deficit than in the June 2013 quarter, and the largest current account deficit since the December 2008 quarter.

The increase in the deficit this quarter was mainly due to imports of goods and services increasing by more than exports.

"For the first time in five years, New Zealand imported more goods and services than we exported," balance of payments manager Jason Attewell said.

Goods imports increasing by more than goods exports also drove the increase in New Zealand's annual current account deficit. The deficit increased from $8.2 billion (3.9 percent of GDP) in the June 2013 year to $8.8 billion (4.1 percent of GDP) in the September 2013 year.

In this release, we include improvements to estimates for spending by international visitors and students in New Zealand. We also include an estimate for imports of goods valued below the $1,000 Customs threshold for the first time. The current account balance has been revised back to the June 1982 quarter.

"These data improvements decreased our average current account deficit as a percentage of GDP to 4.8 percent over the last 10 years, from 5.6 percent," Mr Attewell said.

 Net international liabilities decrease

At 30 September 2013, New Zealand's net international liability position was $150.1 billion (69.5 percent of GDP), down from 151.6 billion (71.2 percent of GDP) at 30 June 2013. The smaller net position in the latest quarter was driven by changes in the value of New Zealand's overseas assets and liabilities, rather than transactions through the financial account.

Within the net international liability position, the banking sector reduced their borrowing by $9.2 billion. As a result, the banking sector's net overseas debt fell to its lowest level since the March 2007 quarter.

Visit Balance of Payments and International Investment Position: September 2013 quarter




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