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Overseas Trade Deficit Grows

Figures released today by Statistics New Zealand for the month of October 1999 show that the trend in the merchandise trade balance continued to worsen as the growth in merchandise exports remains lower than the growth in imports.
The monthly trend in merchandise exports has risen continuously since December 1995. However, strong growth this year in merchandise imports has led to the trade deficit worsening for the last twelve months. This is despite the New Zealand dollar falling in October 1999 for the fifth consecutive month.

For the month of October 1999, provisional merchandise exports were $2,034 million and the trade balance was in deficit by $462 million. The average trade balance for the month of October during the 1990s was a deficit of $231 million.

For the year ended October 1999, the provisional merchandise trade balance was a deficit of $2,296 million. As a proportion of merchandise export values, however, there were often larger deficits in the mid-1970s and mid-1980s. The trade balance for the year ended October 1998 was a deficit of $442 million. Imports of large aircraft and ships each costing over $100 million contributed $661 million to imports in the year ended October 1999 compared with $294 million in the previous October year.

The frigate HMNZS Te Mana will be included in December 1999 imports statistics which will be released on 28 January 2000.

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