The value of exported goods fell $378 million (10 percent) to $3.3 billion in January 2013, compared with January 2012, Statistics New Zealand said today. This was led by a fall in the value of milk powder, butter, and cheese, and crude oil.
The value of imported goods fell $234 million (6.0 percent) to $3.7 billion for the January 2013 month. Large capital imports in January 2012 affected this movement.
"The decrease in dairy and crude oil drove the decrease in exports," industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. "The trade deficit has increased compared with January 2012, as the decrease in exports was greater than the decrease in imports."
The trade balance for January 2013 was a deficit of $305 million (9.1 percent of exports). This compares with an average deficit of 1.8 percent of exports over the previous five January months.
After removing seasonal effects, exports decreased 15 percent in January 2013, compared with December 2012. Milk powder, butter, and cheese led this decrease. Seasonally adjusted imports rose 1.6 percent in January 2013.
The trend for exports appears to have been declining in recent months, and is 5.0 percent lower than its highest peak, which was in November 2011. The trend for imports has been declining since July 2012, after a period of no change.
Overseas merchandise trade statistics remain provisional for the first three months after data is first released.
For more information, see Why overseas merchandise trade data can change.