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Average Trade Deficit Recorded for November

Average Trade Deficit Recorded for November

The provisional value of merchandise imports for November 2003 is $2,790 million, according to Statistics New Zealand. Exports are estimated at $2,390 million, resulting in a trade deficit of $400 million, or 16.7 percent of exports. This is close to the 10-year average of 17.9 percent of exports for a November month.

The trend for merchandise imports has continued to be relatively flat since the second half of 2000. Over the same period, the New Zealand dollar, as measured by the trade weighted index, has generally appreciated against all our major trading partners, exerting a downward influence on import prices.

The main contributor to the lower imports value for the November 2003 month was crude oil with lower quantities imported, compared with November 2002. Mechanical machinery and equipment; plastic and plastic articles; and toys, games and sports equipment also contributed to the lower value for November 2003. These falls were partly offset by higher values for vehicles and aircraft.

Import values from Australia were lower this month, compared with November 2002, with the main contributors being petroleum and petroleum products; sugars; video games and gaming machines. The New Zealand dollar has depreciated against the Australian dollar over the same period, the only currency among those of our major trading partners to do so.

The provisional value of imports for the year ended November 2003 is $31,648 million, resulting in an estimated trade deficit of $3,157 million, or 11.1 percent of exports. Detailed exports statistics will be released on 14 January 2004.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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