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Annual Trade Deficit Passes Seven Billion

Overseas Merchandise Trade: January 2006

27 February 2006

Annual Trade Deficit Passes Seven Billion

The annual trade balance for the year ended January 2006 is a deficit of $7.1 billion (23.1 percent of exports), Statistics New Zealand said today. As a percentage of exports, this is the largest deficit for a January year since 1976, during the oil crisis, when the deficit was almost half the value of exports. The average deficit for a January year for the past decade is 7.8 percent of exports.

Imports for the year ended January 2006 are also at a record level of $37.9 billion, up $3 billion.

The annual increase in the value of imports is partly due to higher import values of petroleum products, which also contributed to high import values in the 1970s. The annual value for exports is $30.8 billion, down $172 million.

Higher import values of petroleum and products, and aircraft, drove the increase in the monthly imports value for January 2006, up 22.5 percent to $3.1 billion.

Exports of merchandise goods for January 2006 are valued at $2.2 billion, which is 2.6 percent lower than for January 2005. The main contributors to the reduced exports value are lower values for meat and milk powder, butter and cheese.

The monthly trade balance for January 2006 is a deficit of $935 million (42.6 percent of exports).

On average, the trade deficit for January months over the past decade has been 12.8 percent of exports.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

ENDS

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