Milk powder has helped exports increase. Photo supplied.
Last month's trade surplus may have been weaker than both
the market and economists' expectations, but was still the
sixth successive surplus.
Statistics New Zealand figures released yesterday showed a
surplus of $534 million compared with market expectations of
Westpac predicted a $700 million surplus and ASB a $900
Exports were $4.5 billion - a $553 million increase since
April last year, and led by milk powder, butter and cheese -
while imports lifted 5% to $4 billion.
Most of the month's weakness was on the export volumes side,
which ASB rural economist Nathan Penny attributed to normal
volatility in the monthly trade data.
Seasonally-adjusted dairy volumes were down more than 5% for
the second consecutive month, despite what had been a very
strong end to the dairy production season.
Meat and forestry volumes were also down, compounding the
Export volumes were expected to rebound over coming months.
From next month, he expected the trade data to begin to
reflect recent GlobalDairyTrade auction price falls.
In imports, capital imports continued to lead the way,
reflecting the purchase of equipment for the Canterbury
rebuild, as well as for the commodity export boom.
Households continued to show restraint and spending on
imports was lagging the rest of the economy, Mr Penny said.