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Exports and trade surplus at record levels

Monday 30th May 2011

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Exports and the trade surplus boomed to record levels in April.

Exports were 17% higher than a year earlier to a new high at $4.7 billion, while imports lifted 7.2% to $3.5 billion, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) said today.

The milk powder, butter and cheese grouping recorded a 32% or $287 million rise in exports from April 2010, while meat and edible offal exports were up $79 million or 13%. Exports of logs, wood and wood articles were up $41 million or 15%.

Imports of crude oil were up $96 million in April from a year earlier, with automotive diesel imports up $42 million.

Inorganic chemical imports lifted $38 million or 90% due to a rise in aluminium oxide, while imports of electrical machinery and equipment gained $37 million or 14% due to a rise in telecommunications equipment.

The $1.1 billion trade balance for April was equivalent to 24% of exports, the largest monthly surplus ever recorded and the largest surplus as a percentage of exports in 18 years, SNZ said.

The annual trade balance for the April year was a surplus of $1.2 billion, the largest surplus for an April year since 1994.

The surpluses were well above expectations, with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists having been for monthly and annual surpluses of $600 million. That was mostly due to imports being $310 million lower than expected, while exports were $100 million higher than forecast.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, the value of exports was up 8.1% in April, while the value of imports was down 4.3%.



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