Trade deficit lower as Aust exports, imports shrink

Trans tasman imports and exports shrunk last month, says Statistics NZ. Photo / supplied
Trans tasman imports and exports shrunk last month, says Statistics NZ. Photo / supplied

New Zealand's trade deficit narrowed in September as imports and exports across the Tasman shrank, led by falling international dairy sales and declining foreign machinery purchases.

The trade deficit of $791 million in September was narrower than a revised $809 million a month earlier, according to Statistics New Zealand. The shortfall was almost identical to the same month a year earlier, and smaller than the $825 million deficit forecast in a Reuters survey of economists. The annual deficit of $888 million was in line with expectations.

Trade flows with Australia, New Zealand's biggest trading partner, shrank in September, with exports falling 8.3 per cent to $824 million and imports down 13 per cent to $586 million from the same month a year earlier. Statistics NZ said New Zealand sold less unwrought gold, cheese and crude oil to Australia, and bought less cane sugar, aluminium oxide and fertilisers.

China, the country's second-biggest trading partner, picked up the slack, with monthly exports rising 23 per cent to $468 million and imports edging up 1.1 per cent to $718 million.

Exports to the US, New Zealand's third-biggest partner, picked up, rising 12 per cent to $257 million in September, though imports declined 18 per cent to $336 million.

Milk powder, butter and cheese exports fell 12 per cent to $597 million in the month, and aluminium and aluminium articles sales sank 20 per cent to $79 million. Dairy products account for about 27 per cent of New Zealand's annual $46.77 billion in exports.

Imported mechanical machinery and equipment dropped 11 per cent to $472 million in September, while vehicles, parts and accessories fell 8.4 per cent to $406 million.

- BusinessDesk

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