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Financial News: New Zealand July Trade Surplus NZ$282 Million

New Zealand July Trade Surplus NZ$282 Million

08/25/2020 - 19:45:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - New Zealand posted a merchandise trade surplus of NZ$282 million in July, Statistics New Zealand said on Wednesday - down from NZ$426 million in June.

Imports tumbled 18.0 percent on year to NZ$4.6 billion, while exports eased an annual0.2 percent to NZ$4.9 billion.

For the first month in almost 34 years, no crude oil was imported into New Zealand, the stats bureau noted.

In the past three months, total imports have been very low while exports have been holding up, leading to the smallest annual trade deficit since the October 2014 year.

Crude oil imports have been much lower than usual since May 2020 as demand dropped due to COVID-19. International travel restrictions and the COVID-19 lockdown in April meant far fewer people traveled by road or air.

"The last time no crude oil was imported in a single month was in August 1986, a year when international demand for oil fell and prices dropped sharply," international statistics manager Darren Allan said.

Also contributing to the fall in total imports in July 2020 were motor vehicles, down NZ$234 million; and truck and vans, down NZ$122 million.

Car imports have been much lower than usual since April 2020, when the alert level 4 lockdown meant car dealers were closed as a non-essential business.

Face mask imports increased sharply this year as the COVID-19 global pandemic spread and New Zealand moved into lockdown.

New Zealand has imported NZ$232 million worth of face masks since the beginning of the year, up NZ$189 million from NZ$43 million for the same period last year. This includes all types of face masks, from surgical masks to painting and dust masks.

Of New Zealand's main trading partners, imports from the European Union had the biggest fall in July 2020, down NZ$262 million when compared with July 2019. Aircraft and parts led the fall, down NZ$120 million (89 percent), while imports of electric trains increased, up NZ$36 million.

Imports from the United States fell NZ$76 million, led by machinery and equipment (such as turbo-jet and turbo propeller parts), down NZ$59 million.

Goods imports from China were up NZ$108 million (10 percent) in July 2020 when compared with July 2019. The leading rises were electrical machinery and equipment (such as mobile phones), up NZ$53 million, fertilizers, up NZ$30 million, and textiles (such as face masks), up NZ$18 million.

Exports to China fell NZ$28 million compared with July 2019, with beef exports down NZ$74 million and dairy down NZ$37 million.

These decreases were partly offset by exports of live animals to China, up NZ$68 million. There were over 30,000 cattle exported to China in July 2020.

Total exports to the United States rose NZ$89 million, led by beef (up NZ$70 million), and exports to the European Union rose NZ$54 million, led by kiwifruit (up NZ$39 million).

In the year to July, imports fell NZ$4.1 billion or 6.4 percent to NZ$60.3 billion and exports sank NZ$1.3 billion or 2.1 percent to NZ$60.2 billion. The trade deficit was NZ$115 million.

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