New Zealand trade balance narrows modestly in August
The annual trade deficit for the year ended August of 2017 narrowed modestly to NZD 3.20 billion, from NZD 3.21 billion in July of 2017.
Exports advanced 9.0% year-on-year in August to NZD 3689 after advancing 16.7% in July. The softer growth pace was mainly explained by milk powder, butter & cheese exports' 2.6% fall following a 50.7% surge in the previous month.
Other relevant declining categories were wool (-23.6%), textiles (-23.2%), and iron & steel (-12.4%).
In contrast, fruit exports accelerated to a 28.9% growth rate (vs 15.3% in the previous month). Meanwhile, on a destination basis, exports to Australia rebounded by 21.6% after edging down 0.2% in July.
Contrastingly, exports to South Korea declined by 13.7% after soaring 36.1%. Exports to the European Union grew at a softer pace of 8.8% (vs 23.8% in July); to Japan 8.2% (vs 18.7%); and the United States 2.4% (vs 6.4%).
Imports climbed 6.5% year-on-year to NZD 4923 million in August of 2017, after increasing 4.9% in the previous month.
The climb was mainly explained by purchases of petroleum & products, which increased 53.4% after a modest 9.9% rise in July.
In contrast, purchases of vehicles, parts & accessories edged up 0.1% in August after a 25.1% jump in the preceding month.
By country of origin, imports from Japan declined by 14.0% after surging 24.1% in July. In contrast, exports to the United States rebounded by 8.2% after a sharp 31.5% contraction in July. ■