25 May 2016

Higher fruit exports boost April trade surplus

1:57 pm on 25 May 2016

The country has posted a trade surplus for April as the fall in dairy prices was offset by a boost in fruit and timber exports.

Official figures show exports exceeded imports by $292 million last month.

Exports rose 4 percent to $4.3b, led by fruit such as golden kiwifruit and apples, and higher prices for logs.

That offset a fall in dairy prices.

Imports rose a smaller 1.5 percent to $4b, due to a rise in clothing, drugs and furniture.

China remained the country's top trade partner for both exports and imports, followed by Australia.

On an annual basis, the deficit narrowed slightly to $3.7b.

But ANZ Bank senior economist Philip Borkin said the deficit was expected to worsen, as prices for exports are continuing to fall.

"Dairy prices look like they have found a floor at the moment, but when we look across the non-dairy components there is still some modest falls occurring in the likes of land prices and a few other components as well."

The fall in prices combined with the resilient New Zealand dollar was a concern, Mr Borkin said.