Fast Facts

Largest goods trade deficit for almost a decade

New Zealand’s goods trade deficit reached a near 10-year high in the March 2018 quarter, Stats NZ said. The goods trade shortfall reflects high fuel imports and a fall in dairy, meat, and forestry exports.

In the March 2018 quarter, there was a seasonally adjusted goods trade deficit of $1.8 billion. Total seasonally adjusted imports were valued at $15.3 million, down 0.1 percent in the March 2018 quarter, and total exports were valued at $13.5 billion, down 5.8 percent.

“The deficit in the March 2018 quarter was driven by a decrease in exports – especially in dairy, meat, and forestry,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “However, this quarter’s decrease follows a 7.1 percent rise last quarter, which was led by the same three commodities.”

The March 2018 quarter’s deficit was the largest since the June 2008 quarter, and the 16th consecutive quarterly deficit since the March 2014 quarter.

The seasonally adjusted trade balance for the June 2008 quarter was a deficit of $2.0 billion (19 percent of exports). The major factors that contributed to this trade deficit included imports of an oil rig and floating platform, and high petroleum and products values.

Contrasting movements in imports

Imports of capital goods fell 12 percent due to lower levels for transport equipment, and passenger motor cars (down 6.4 percent). But intermediate goods rose 5.2 percent, led by crude oil, and petrol and avgas (up 41 percent).

Source: Stats NZ

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