New Zealand Trade Surplus Continues To Contract

28 March 2012 23:00 - Florence Fullalove

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New Zealand Trade Surplus Continues To Contract

The annual trade surplus continued to wither last month and unfortunately this trend is predicted to continue. Exports exceeded imports by $621 million or 1.3% in the year ended February. This was down on a surplus of $646 million in the year to January, $853 million for the calendar 2011 and $764 million for the year to February 2011. Statistics New Zealand warned that export and import numbers were affected by not only disruptions at the Ports of Auckland but also the timing of shipments of some key commodities. Last month exports were down 6.9% ($267 million) from February the year before.

Also the exchange rate moved up by 8.1% over the year on a trade weighted basis. Imports were also lower than 2011, by 6.6% ($244 million) although this has been accredited to $233 million worth of aircraft imported in February last year. Darren Gibbs, Deutsche Bank chief said that the data were consistent with his expectation that the annual trade surplus has peaked. He added, A decline in the terms of trade and gradual improvement in import demand, further stimulated by an elevated exchange rate, is likely to see the trade accounts deteriorate over the course of this year.

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