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NZ trade deficit narrows in November

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/12/2016 Tina Morrison

New Zealand's monthly trade deficit narrowed in November as imports declined from earlier periods which were boosted by aircraft arrivals.

The country's trade deficit was $705 million in November, compared with a deficit of $815m in October and $795m in November last year, Statistics New Zealand said.

The annual trade gap narrowed to $3.18 billion, from $3.27b in October and $3.7b a year earlier.

Imported goods fell 6.4 per cent to $4.56b in November from the year-earlier month. Excluding imports of aircraft, imports edged down 0.1 per cent.

New Zealand's goods exports in November dropped 5.4 per cent to $3.86 billion, led by a 31 per cent drop in the value of meat and edible offal exports.

Beef exports fell 41 per cent in value and 31 per cent in volume as higher global supply dents prices.

Lamb exports dropped 27 per cent by value and 23 per cent in volume as the demand for New Zealand lamb weakened following Britain's vote to exit the European Union.

"Beef exports to the United States, our top beef export destination, fell by around half when compared to November last year," said Statistics NZ senior manager Jason Attewell.

"When compared to the same month of the previous year, the value of beef exports to the US have fallen in nearly every month since October 2015, only rising once in April 2016."

Lamb exports to the European Union, New Zealand's top lamb export destination, fell in the month, with the United Kingdom seeing significant falls in value and quantity, he said.

Bucking the trend, dairy exports increased 2.6 per cent as declining supply and improving demand bolster global prices. Wood exports rose 12 per cent to $320m and fruit exports lifted 27 per cent to $74m.

Meanwhile, capital goods led the fall in imports for the month, declining 26 per cent. Imports of transport equipment sank 58 per cent, due to a fall in aircraft and parts, which slid 98 per cent or by $303 million.

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