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Overseas Merchandise Trade (imports) - June 1999

Imports rising strongly

The value of merchandise imports continues to show strong growth according to Statistics New Zealand figures released today. The imports trend has been rising each month for two years.

Much of the recent growth in imports is attributable to sharply increased imports of cars. Imports of consumption goods and intermediate goods continue to increase.

Declining terms of trade and the increased imports of cars and consumption goods have weakened New Zealand's merchandise trade balance. The June quarter 1999 Balance of Payments current account statistics due for publication on 23 September 1999, will analyse the full effect of these trends.

The total value of provisional merchandise imports for June 1999 was $2,048 million, up 12.2 per cent from the $1,826 million recorded for June last year. Imports from Asia, especially Japan, continued to show strong growth.

June 1999 merchandise export statistics will be released on 9 August 1999. Preliminary estimates indicate that the export value will be about $1,860 million. The merchandise exports trend is now showing six months of decline. The merchandise trade balance for June 1999 is estimated as a deficit of about $190 million. Merchandise trade balances for the month of June were in surplus in all of the previous 13 years. Exports of services, which are measured separately from exports of merchandise goods, are, however, showing stronger movements, particularly for tourism receipts.

Len Cook
GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN
26 July 1999

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