29 Jul 2008

Trade deficit widens

8:56 pm on 29 July 2008

The New Zealand trade deficit has widened.

Official figures show the seasonally adjusted shortfall stood at $1.9 billion in the three months to June as exports fell and imports rose. For the year, the deficit was $4.8 billion.

Exports fell 0.5% to $10.3 billion, mainly because of a drop in the volume of overseas sales of milk powder, butter and cheese after the recent drought.

But quarterly export values are still at their third-highest level ever and ANZ senior economist Khoon Goh says other commodity products are now enjoying better prices.

Imports jumped 8.5% to $12.1 billion, led by petrol imports and large one-off items, which included an oil platform, oil production vessel and two big aircraft.