26 May 2009

Recession hits merchandise trade

10:45 pm on 26 May 2009

New Zealand's merchandise exports and imports both fell last month, compared to April 2008.

Exports were down 4.6%, led by a drop in crude oil receipts of $204 million, which was only partly offset by rising exports of fruit and meat.

Oil from Taranaki's offshore Tui field is selling for much less since the recession reduced demand and prices tumbled.

Statistics New Zealand says imports fell by a record $745 million, mainly due to large one-off capital items imported in April 2008.

Imports of vehicles, parts and accessories dropped by one third.

The country earned $276 million more than it spent on merchandise, a trade surplus of 7.5% of exports.

In the year to April, the trade shortfall narrowed to $4.1 billion, from $4.7 billion in the year to March.