New Zealand saw a merchandise trade deficit of NZ$199 million in January, Statistics New Zealand said on Monday - well shy of forecasts for a surplus of NZ$167 million following the downwardly revised surplus of NZ$306 in December.
The shortfall, which represents 5.3 percent of exports, was blamed on the one-off importation of large aircraft - without which New Zealand would have had a surplus of NZ$14 million.
Exports climbed an annual 13 percent to NZ$3.74 billion, topping forecasts for NZ$3.70 billion following the downwardly revised figure of NZ$4.29 billion.
Among the individual components, milk powder, butter, and cheese exports rose 25 percent on year, while meat exports declined an annual 13 percent.
"The trend for dairy exports has increased strongly since August 2011," industry and labor statistics manager Neil Kelly said. "However, the trend for meat exports has been falling since July 2011."
Imports jumped 19 percent on year to NZ$3.94 billion, beating expectations for NZ$3.51 billion following the upwardly revised NZ$3.99 billion in the previous month. Petroleum products and large aircraft imports were the main factors in the increase.
Year to date, New Zealand's trade balance shows a surplus of NZ$646 million - missing forecasts for a surplus of NZ$1.300 billion after showing a surplus of NZ$853 million a month earlier.
by RTT Staff Writer
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