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Account Deficit: No Surprises or Quick Fixes

The September balance of payments result is disappointing but not surprising, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

“The deficit was $2,646 million for the quarter and $6,610 million for the September year. Both figures were in line with market expectations.

“There is welcome evidence that, after a very slow start, we are now seeing some traction in the export sector. Seasonally adjusted exports rose $454 million over the quarter while imports - which had been outstripping exports - rose only $181 million.

“But there is no quick fix to the imbalance in our external accounts.

“We need to earn more so that we borrow less overseas and we need to diversify New Zealand’s export base, shifting into high value-added products which are less vulnerable to swings in commodity prices.

“That is the challenge this Government has set itself,” Dr Cullen said.


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