New Zealand posted a merchandize trade deficit of NZ$1.560 billion in September, Statistics New Zealand said on Thursday – representing 36 percent of exports.
That missed expectations for a shortfall of NZ$1.365 billion following the 1.484 billion deficit in August.
Exports climbed an annual 14.0 percent to NZ$4.33 billion, beating forecasts for NZ$4.20 billion and up from NZ$4.05 billion in the previous month.
Fruit led the export rise, up NZ$188 million (118 percent) to NZ$347 million, while logs, wood, and wood articles rose NZ$75 million (19 percent) to NZ$466 million, meat and edible offal rose NZ$61 million (20 percent) to NZ$367 million and milk powder, butter, and cheese fell NZ$32 million (4.1 percent) to NZ$759 million.
Imports jumped 19.0 percent on year to NZ$5.89 billion versus forecasts for NZ$5.60 billion and up from NZ$5.54 billion a month earlier.
“This month’s record imports continue the high values seen since May 2018,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “The monthly imports value has been more than NZ$5 billion for the past five months, in part reflecting high prices for imported fuel and crude oil.”
For the third quarter of 2018, exports rose a seasonally adjusted 6.3 percent to NZ$15.1 billion, following a 4.8 percent rise in the three months prior.
Imports climbed 3.7 percent to NZ$16.1 billion following a 2.1 percent rise in the previous three months, resulting in a quarterly trade deficit of NZ$1.1 billion (7.1 percent of exports).
In the year to September, annual goods imports were worth NZ$62.2 billion, while annual goods exports were valued at NZ$57.0 billion for a trade deficit of NZ$5.2 billion.