New Zealand recorded a trade surplus in June, against expectations of a small deficit, as imports of petrol and petroleum products fell faster than exports of dairy products.
The trade surplus was $414 million in June for an annual deficit of $777 million, according to Statistics New Zealand. Imports dropped 7.4 per cent to $3.6 billion from the same month a year earlier, while exports fell 3.9 per cent to $4.02 billion.
A Reuters survey of economists was picking a monthly deficit of $100 million with imports and exports both at about $3.9 billion in June.
A 25 per cent slide in petroleum and products to $545 million led the decline in imports, followed by a 16 per cent fall in mechanical machinery and equipment to $466 million and an 11 per cent drop in electrical machinery and equipment to $297 million.
Exports of milk powder, butter and cheese slid 14 per cent to $838 million in June from the same month a year earlier, and casein and caseinates sank 20 per cent to $70 million.
Dairy products account for about 27 per cent of New Zealand's annual $45.72 billion exports.
Shipments to China continued to rise, up 18 per cent to $708 million in June for an annual gain of 27 per cent to $7.72 billion. Exports to Australia, still New Zealand's biggest market, fell 5.9 per cent to $781 million in June, for an annual fall of 8.9 per cent of $9.53 billion.
The US remained New Zealand's third-biggest export market, falling 9 per cent to $372 million in June, though up 0.8 per cent to $4.12 billion on an annual basis.
Chinese imports edged up 0.4 per cent to $621 million in June for an annual lift of 1.4 per cent to $7.76 billion. Australian imports sank 15 per cent to $490 million in June from a year earlier, and were down 4.6 per cent to $6.91 billion in the year. US imports fell 4 per cent to $337 million in June, and dropped 9.9 per cent to $4.23 billion annually.