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Trade values continue to fall from high levels

Embargoed until 10:45am – 27 November 2009

Trade values continue to fall from high levels

The value of both merchandise imports and exports fell in October 2009 compared with October 2008, down 28.3 percent and 22.4 percent, respectively, Statistics New Zealand said today. Imports and exports are showing sustained declines from the high 2008 levels.

The import and export trends (which remove seasonal and irregular fluctuations) have continued to decline since peaking in the latter half of 2008. The imports trend has fallen 25.3 percent since August 2008, the longest period of decline and the largest fall in this trend since the series began in 1988.

The trade balance for October 2009 was a deficit of $487 million or 16.4 percent of the value of exports.

This compares with an average October deficit of 30.0 percent of exports for the previous five years.

Most import commodity categories contributed to the $1.4 billion fall in import values. The largest contribution came from petroleum and products (down $432 million or 49.3 percent), led by crude oil, mainly due to lower prices. Mechanical machinery and equipment was the next largest decrease, with falls across most commodities.

Similarly, most export commodity categories contributed to the $859 million decline in export values in October 2009. Exports of milk powder, butter, and cheese were the largest contributor to the decline, down $318 million (32.0 percent) from last year's high levels. This decrease occurred despite quantities exported being the second highest on record (behind May 2009), and 30.9 percent higher than October 2008.

Overseas Merchandise Trade Oct 09 (pdf)

Overseas Merchandise Trade Oct 09 - Tables (xls)

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