In January 2018, New Zealand recorded its largest deficit for a January month since 2007, Stats NZ said. This deficit contrasts with December 2017’s surplus, which was the largest ever for a December month.
The January 2018 trade balance was a deficit of $566 million. This was larger than January 2017 deficit as imports rose more than exports.
“Both imports and exports reached new highs for January months,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “Import growth remains strong while export growth didn’t carry on at the same rate as the record-setting December 2017 month.”
Imports rose $713 million (17 percent) from January 2017, with increases across a range of commodities including turbo-jets, diesel, and ships.
The $373 million (9.5 percent) rise in exports was led by milk powder, butter, and cheese – up $101 million. The countries with the largest rises in exports in the milk powder, butter, and cheese group were Algeria (milk powder), Peru (milk powder), and Iran (butter). Values were down $21 million to China, due to lower exports of milk powder. This fall is the first for the milk powder, butter, and cheese group to China since November 2016.
Source: Stats NZ