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Latest Figures Confirm February Trade Surplus

Overseas Merchandise Trade (Exports): February 2001

The updated trade surplus for February 2001 is $379 million, according to latest figures released by Statistics New Zealand. This is 14.6 per cent of the value of exports for the month. Trade surpluses have occurred in 9 of the 10 previous February months, but this is the first February month since 1995 that the surplus has exceeded 10 per cent of exports.

Merchandise exports for February 2001 have been updated to $2,586 million. This is $34 million lower than the early estimate released on 27 March 2001. Merchandise imports for February 2001 were $2,207 million. Both the exports and imports trends have flattened in recent months, following steady growth in both series since 1998.

The updated value of merchandise exports for the year ended February 2001 is $30,047 million, up 24.0 per cent from the previous February year. Our top three export markets, Australia, the United States of America and Japan, contributed 46.4 per cent of the annual growth.

The commodities contributing the most to annual growth in exports were: milk powder, butter and cheese; meat and edible offal; and logs, wood and wood articles. The combined annual increase from these three commodities was $2,340 million, which accounted for 40.2 per cent of the total annual increase in exports.

The updated merchandise trade balance for the year ended February 2001 is a deficit of $1,123 million. This compares with a deficit for the previous February year of $3,313 million (which included $631 million for the frigate HMNZS Te Mana).

Overseas merchandise trade statistics are provisional for three months to allow for the inclusion of new and amended information.

Ian Ewing DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

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