New Zealand Books First Trade Surplus In 9 Months
New Zealand posted a trade surplus of NZD 332 million in March of 2017 compared to a NZD 188.9 million surplus in the same month of the previous year. It was the first trade surplus for any month since June of 2016, but was below expectations of a NZD 370 million surplus. Exports advanced to NZD 4.646 billion (or 10.6 percent year-on-year from -5.5 percent in February) while imports climbed to NZD 4.315 billion (or 7.6 percent from +4.0 percent). The annual trade deficit for the year ended March 2017 was NZD 3.7 billion, compared with a NZD 3.8 billion shortfall in the year ended February 2017.
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The 10.6 percent rise in exports was mainly triggered by a 29.0 percent surge in exports of milk powder, butter & cheese. Ships, boats & floating structures recovered by 266.2 percent in March after plunging 98.8 percent in the previous month. Logs, wood & wood articles rebounded 10.1 percent following a 1.7 percent decline in February. Exports to China surged by 43.5 percent after increasing by 6.3 percent in February. Shipments to Japan rebounded 18.8 percent after a 5.7 percent fall. Exports to Korea jumped 6.2 percent, while shipments fell to the United States (by 7.5 percent) and to Australia (by 2.4 percent).
Meanwhile, imports climbed by 7.6 percent to NZD 4.315 billion, led mainly by a 28.1 percent increase in vehicles, parts & accessories (from +20.3 percent in February), and a 16.4 percent rise in mechanical machinery & equipment. Contrastingly, petroleum & products declined by 6.2 percent after surging 52.6 percent in the preceding month. Imports increased from Japan (28.8 percent from +6.3 percent), China (13.7 percent from -10.2 percent), the United States (11.1 percent from +2.5 percent), and Australia (3.9 percent from +9.2 percent).