New Zealand posted a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of NZ$355 million in April, Statistics New Zealand said on Thursday, representing 9.1 percent of exports.
The headline figure missed forecasts for a surplus of NZ$400 million following the NZ$134 million surplus in March.
Exports were down 17 percent on year to NZ$3.89 billion, shy of expectations for NZ$4.10 billion after coming in at NZ$4.22 billion in the previous month.
Exports of dairy products, meat and edible offal, crude oil, and logs, wood, and wood articles all showed notable decreases as 21 of the 25 largest commodity groups exported from New Zealand were down.
"Most commodities for exports fell this month, with primary products driving the decrease, although it should be noted that April 2011 had the highest exports value for any month on record so far," industry and labor statistics manager Neil Kelly said.
Imports added an annual 0.1 percent to NZ$3.53 billion versus forecasts for NZ$3.70 billion after showing NZ$4.08 billion a month earlier.
Imports of plant and machinery, and passenger motor cars both increased, while imports of crude oil, fertilizers, and inorganic chemicals were down.
Year to date, the trade deficit is NZ$541 million (1.2 percent of exports), beating forecasts for a shortfall of NZ$651 million after coming in a NZ$207 million in March.
The exports trend has been decreasing since November 2011, which was a record high, and is now at the same level as in November 2010. The trend for imports has been flat in recent months, and is up 24 percent since its most recent low point in September 2009. However, this trend is still 7.1 percent below its overall peak in September 2008.
by RTT Staff Writer
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