28 Sep 2011

Markets stabilising, Finance Minister says

9:02 am on 28 September 2011

Finance Minster Bill English says some of the country's key markets are showing signs of stabilising after record highs, rather than weakening.

As efforts continue to find a solution to the euro zone debt crisis, new figures show exports were down last month, including to the biggest market, Australia.

New Zealand recorded its first monthly trade deficit in eight months in August, as a seasonally-adjusted 4% fall in exports offset a 3.1% rise in imports.

Some exporters say they're feeling the chill of the global economic turmoil, however Mr English told Morning Report there's an issue of markets settling, rather than changing.

He says there's no doubt that in a volatile world food-related prices would fluctuate around a rising trend and in the longer term the country will be in a reasonable position.

Sir Kenneth Stevens, whose company Glidepath manufactures and exports airport baggage handling equipment, says sales have fallen in the United States, while projects in China has been put on hold.

Sir Kenneth, also the chairman of Export New Zealand, says other exporters also report weaker sales in Australia.

A former Victoria University Professor of Economics, Roger Bowden, says sales and prices for whole milk powder going to China are down, reflecting falling global demand, which may lower milk prices for consumers in New Zealand.