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NZ annual trade deficit reached nine-year high in July on rising oil prices

Friday 24th August 2018

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New Zealand's annual trade deficit for July was the widest in nine years as petroleum imports soared, though it was slightly narrower than economists had expected as dairy exports continued to push higher. 

The country's annual trade deficit widened to $4.4 billion in July from $3.2 billion a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Economists had been expecting an annual deficit of $4.5 billion, according to the median in a Bloomberg poll of 10. It was the largest annual deficit since March 2009. 

Annual imports for the year ended July were $60.7 billion, up $6.9 billion from the year ended July 2017. Annual exports were $56.2 billion, up $5.7 billion on the year. 

“The rise in imports in the past year reflect large rises in both imports of petroleum and products, and in mechanical machinery and equipment. Exports of dairy and meat products led the exports rise,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said.

Imports of petroleum and products for the year ended July rose 30 percent to $6.5 billion, largely due to higher international crude oil prices. 

For the year ended July, the value of dairy exports increased 11 percent to $14.4 billion. Milk fats including butter led this rise, up $955 million. Milk powder exports also increased, up $373 million.

For the July month, the trade deficit was $143 million versus the $400 million deficit economists had expected. Imports lifted 21 percent to $5.5 billion as petroleum and products lifted 84 percent to $165 million.

“Crude prices are much higher than they were at the same time last year. These price increases have driven an increase in values, as quantities are much the same,” Islam said.

Exports for the month rose 16 percent to $5.35 billion. The export values of dairy products increased 21 percent from July 2017, reaching $1.5 billion, the highest since last December. 

(BusinessDesk)

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