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Merchandise Trade Deficit Increases

Merchandise Trade Deficit Increases

The estimated merchandise trade deficit for August 2002 is $542 million, an increase of $441 million compared with August 2001, according to Statistics New Zealand. Higher imports of vehicles and crude oil and a decline in exports were the main contributors to the larger deficit. The provisional value of merchandise imports for August 2002 is $2,952 million, an increase of 7.7 percent ($210 million) compared with August 2001.

The estimated value of merchandise exports for August 2002 is $2,410 million. Detailed statistics for August 2002 merchandise exports will be released on 7 October 2002.

The estimated deficit for August 2002 is 22.5 percent of exports. Deficits have occurred in August for all of the latest 10 years. Over this decade, the deficit as a percentage of exports was more than 22 percent on three occasions. In the other seven August months, it ranged between 3 and 17 percent of exports.

The monthly trend in merchandise trade shows exports declining while imports are rising. The resulting balance indicates an increasing deficit over the latest four months.

The value of imports of vehicles, parts and accessories increased by 29.0 percent from $344 million in August 2001 to $443 million in August 2002. This follows a similar movement in the previous month when imports of vehicles, parts and accessories increased from $335 million in July 2001 to $443 million in July 2002.

The value of imports of petroleum and petroleum products for the month of August 2002 was $321 million, an increase of $129 million compared with August 2001. Imports of crude oil fluctuate from month to month due to large irregular shipments.

For the year ended August 2002, the provisional value of merchandise imports is $32,057 million, a decrease of 0.7 percent from the previous August year. Excluding items individually valued at $100 million or more, such as large aircraft and ships, there is an increase in merchandise imports of 0.4 percent. There have been no imports of individual items exceeding $100 million in value since November 2000.

Brian Pink Government Statistician

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