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Seasonally adjusted exports for the March 2008 quarter were down 1.4 percent ($150 million) from theDecember 2007 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.
Increases in milk powder butter and cheese,and in meat and edible offal exports helped soften the decrease.
Although down from last quarter's recordhigh, the March quarter is only the second time that exports have exceeded $10 billion, and only the thirdquarter to exceed $9 billion.
The seasonally adjusted value of merchandise imports increased 0.4 percent (led by an increase in crudeoil), following an increase of 10.8 percent in the December 2007 quarter.
This is only the second time theseasonally adjusted value of imports has been greater than $11 billion; the first time was in the December2007 quarter.
In the month of March 2008, merchandise exports were valued at $3.4 billion, up 3.7 percent from March2007.
For the seventh consecutive month, the same two commodity groups led the increase in exports; milkpowder, butter and cheese, and crude oil combined were up $262 million.
However, exports of all othercommodities combined decreased 5.2 percent compared with March 2007.
In the month of March 2008, imports increased 7.1 percent, led by increases in crude oil; food residues;wastes and fodder; and vehicles, parts and accessories.
Figures for March 2008 month indicate that the trade balance was a deficit of $50 million (1.5 percent ofexports).
In the past decade, this is only the second March deficit recorded; the other one occurred in March2005. In that 10-year period, the average balance for March months was a surplus of $100 million (or 3.5percent of exports).
Geoff BascandGovernment Statistician
There is a companion Hot Off The Press information release published – Overseas MerchandiseTrade: March 2008.