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New Zealand trade balance narrows modestly in August

Staff Writer |
New Zealand’s trade deficit narrowed modestly to NZD 1235 million in August of 2017 compared to a NZD 1240 million gap in the same month of the previous year and expectations of a NZD 825 million gap.

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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.

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