New Zealand posted a merchandise trade surplus of NZ$161 million in February, Statistics New Zealand said on Monday - beating forecasts for a surplus of NZ$153 million following the upwardly revised deficit of NZ$159 million in January.
The surplus, which represents 4.5 percent on exports, came in spite of declines in the exports of crude oil, aluminum, and dairy products.
Exports were down 6.9 percent on year to NZ$3.59 billion, missing expectations for NZ$3.93 billion after showing a downwardly revised NZ$3.73 billion in January.
"The fall in exports in February appears to have been affected by the timing of large value shipments of some goods," industry and labor statistics manager Neil Kelly said. "Anecdotal evidence also suggests that industrial disputes may have had an impact, due to delays in the loading of some goods. We expect this picture to become clearer when March month and quarter data are fully available. Given these factors, movements in February values should be treated with caution."
Imports declined an annual 6.6 percent to NZ$3.43 billion versus forecasts for NZ$3.65 billion after coming in at a downwardly revised NZ$3.73 billion.
The one-off importation of capital goods in February was a significant contributor to this fall. The unloading of imports may have also been affected by industrial disputes.
Year to date, New Zealand's trade balance shows a surplus of NZ$621 million (1.3 percent of exports) - missing forecasts for a surplus of NZ$712 million after showing a downwardly revised surplus of NZ$644 million a month earlier.
by RTT Staff Writer
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