[27 August/Otago Daily Times]

New Zealand’s trade deficit hit a nine year high of $4.44 billion. This was mainly due to export volumes being stronger than expected. According to Statistics NZ International Statistics Manager, Tehseen Islam, oil prices and a weakened New Zealand dollar were contributing factors, and imports and exports were both up for the year to July. Annual imports were $60.7 billion and annual exports were $56.2 billion. Exports of dairy and meat products caused the increase in exports. ASB Senior Economist, Mark Smith, said the annual deficit saw imports grow 13 percent which was greater than the export growth of 11 percent. He added that looking at the year ahead they expected the deficit to narrow. Westpac Senior Economist, Michael Gordon, noted New Zealand’s trade deficit for July was better than expected, but was offset by a downward revision for June.