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NZ trade surplus $11m in January

Monday 28th February 2011

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A trade balance of $11 million was recorded in January, as exports rose 4.3% from a year earlier and imports rose 14% - both to $3.3 billion.

It was the second consecutive surplus for a January month - amounting to 0.3% of exports - following eight January deficits, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) said today.

The annual trade balance for the year ended January was a surplus of $865m million, or 2% of exports. It was the first surplus for the year ended January since 2002.

Milk powder, butter, and cheese exports rose $93 million or 9.8% from a year earlier, dominated by a rise in unsweetened whole milk powder with higher quantities and prices, with unsalted butter also significant, SNZ said.

Meat and edible offal exports were up $30 million or 6.9% from a year earlier, led by frozen beef and sheep cuts, excluding lamb, partly offset by a fall in fresh and frozen lamb cuts.

Fish, crustaceans, and molluscs exports were up $22 million or 30% across a range of species.

Crude oil exports recorded the largest decrease, down $26 million or 13% due to lower quantities.

The intermediate goods category had the largest increase in imports, up $235 million or 17%, led by a rise in processed industrial supplies, followed by a rise in parts and accessories. That increase was partly offset by a fall in fuels and lubricants.

Capital goods imports rose $77 million or 17%, mostly due to a $67 million or 17% increase in plant and machinery. Leading that rise were increases in power generating machinery, and general industrial machinery and apparatus.

Imports in the petrol and avgas category rose $50 million or 42% due to an increase in the value of motor spirit imported, SNZ said.

Consumption goods imports were up $40 million or 5.4%, the eighth consecutive monthly increase compared with the same month of the previous year.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, exports were 5.9% higher in January than in December, while imports fell 1.8%.

The trend for export values was up 21% since the most recent low point in October 2009. The trend for imports was up 18% since the most recent low point in September 2009, but was still 12% below the September 2008 peak.



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