27 Mar 2010

New Zealand's annual trade deficit widens

5:20 pm on 27 March 2010

New Zealand's annual trade deficit widened in February, as the value of imports increased and exports fell.

Official figures show the deficit totalled $347 million in the year to February, compared with a shortfall of $186 million in the January year.

Exports fell 4% to $3.3 billion in February, compared with the same period a year ago, led by a drop in meat, dairy and wood products being shipped offshore.

Imports rose 1% to $3 billion, led by a rise in crude oil.

UBS senior economist Robin Clements says the monthly picture is not so rosy once crude oil imports are excluded, but the overall trend is encouraging.

For the month, a surplus of $321 million was recorded.