29 Apr 2009

Trade surplus narrows

12:03 pm on 29 April 2009

New Zealand's trade surplus narrowed in March as exports grew faster than imports due partly to demand for meat.

Statistics New Zealand says the trade shortfall narrowed to $4.8 billion in the 12 months to 31 March from $5.16 billion in the year through February.

A surplus of $324 million was reported for March - the second consecutive monthly gain. The surplus was the largest for a March month since 2002.

Exports rose 17.7% from the month before, driven by increases in meat and edible offal, and large aircraft.

Imports were 7% higher from February due to increased imports of mechanical and electrical machinery and equipment.

BNZ markets economist Mark Walton says agricultural exports appear to be acting as a buffer.