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Financial News: New Zealand March Trade Surplus NZ$332 Million

New Zealand March Trade Surplus NZ$332 Million

04/27/2017 - 20:15:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - New Zealand posted a merchandise trade surplus of NZ$332 million in March, Statistics New Zealand said on Friday - representing 7.1 percent of exports.

The headline figure was shy of forecasts for a surplus of NZ$370 million following the NZ$18 million deficit in February.

Exports jumped NZ$446 million or 11 percent on year to NZ$4.65 billion. That just missed expectations for NZ$4.66 billion but was up from NZ$4.01 billion in the previous month.

Exports to China in March were at NZ$1.1 billion, up NZ$326 million (43 percent). Milk powder, butter and cheese (dairy), and lamb led the rise. Dairy added NZ$114 million and lamb rose NZ$57 million.

"China continues to be our top destination for goods exports, and accounts for a quarter of the total dairy exports value," international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. "This March, exports to China exceeded $1 billion for the first March month since 2014."

Total dairy exports surged NZ$250 million (29 percent), and the quantity rose 6.4 percent in March.

"March 2017 was the first time for several months that export volumes were higher than in the same month last year," Islam said.

Imports climbed NZ$303 million or 7.6 percent on year to NZ$4.31 billion versus expectations for NZ$4.30 billion and up from NZ$4.02 billion a month earlier.

The annual trade deficit for the year ended March 2017 was NZ$3.7 billion, compared with a NZ$3.8 billion shortfall in the year ended February 2017.

For the third quarter, the seasonally adjusted value of imported goods rose 4.4 percent on quarter (NZ$577 million) to NZ$13.6 billion.

The value of exported goods was up 2.4 percent (NZ$281 million) to NZ$12.2 billion. The trade deficit for Q1 was NZ$1.4 billion, or 11 percent of exports.

Also on Friday, the bureau said that the total number of building permits issued in New Zealand was down a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent on month in March, coming in at 2,779.

That follows the upwardly revised 17.0 percent surge in February (originally 14.0 percent).

The value of building work consented in March was a record NZ$2.0 billion, including NZ$1.2 billion of residential work and NZ$837 million of non-residential work.

In the year ended March 2017, 30,626 new dwellings were consented - up 10 percent from the March 2016 year.

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