New Zealand Books First Trade Surplus In 9 Months
New Zealand posted a trade surplus of NZD 332 million in March of 2017 compared to a NZD 188.9 million surplus in the same month of the previous year. It was the first trade surplus for any month since June of 2016, but was below expectations of a NZD 370 million surplus. Exports advanced to NZD 4.646 billion (or 10.6 percent year-on-year from -5.5 percent in February) while imports climbed to NZD 4.315 billion (or 7.6 percent from +4.0 percent). The annual trade deficit for the year ended March 2017 was NZD 3.7 billion, compared with a NZD 3.8 billion shortfall in the year ended February 2017.
The 10.6 percent rise in exports was mainly triggered by a 29.0 percent surge in exports of milk powder, butter & cheese. Ships, boats & floating structures recovered by 266.2 percent in March after plunging 98.8 percent in the previous month. Logs, wood & wood articles rebounded 10.1 percent following a 1.7 percent decline in February. Exports to China surged by 43.5 percent after increasing by 6.3 percent in February. Shipments to Japan rebounded 18.8 percent after a 5.7 percent fall. Exports to Korea jumped 6.2 percent, while shipments fell to the United States (by 7.5 percent) and to Australia (by 2.4 percent).
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Meanwhile, imports climbed by 7.6 percent to NZD 4.315 billion, led mainly by a 28.1 percent increase in vehicles, parts & accessories (from +20.3 percent in February), and a 16.4 percent rise in mechanical machinery & equipment. Contrastingly, petroleum & products declined by 6.2 percent after surging 52.6 percent in the preceding month. Imports increased from Japan (28.8 percent from +6.3 percent), China (13.7 percent from -10.2 percent), the United States (11.1 percent from +2.5 percent), and Australia (3.9 percent from +9.2 percent).