NZ: Merchandise trade

Mon May 25 17:45:00 CDT 2015

Actual Previous Revised
Merchandise trade Balance - level NZ$123M NZ$631M NZ$755M
Exports - M/M percent change -15.3% 26.6% 26.4%
Exports - Y/Y percent change -5.5% -2.1% -2.3%
Imports - M/M percent change -2.9% 12.8% 9.3%
Imports - Y/Y percent change 2.6% 4.1% 0.8%

The April merchandise trade surplus was NZ$123 million, much smaller than the revised March surplus of NZ$755 million. Total goods exports fell NZ$240 million (5.5 percent) to $4.2 billion in April 2015 compared with April 2014. Milk powder, butter and cheese exports led the decline due to lower quantities for whole milk powder and lower prices overall. However, the quantity of dairy products exported rose 1.2 percent overall, led by whey, cheese and butter. This offset the decline in whole milk powder quantity. Other significant commodity group changes were fruit exports, up NZ$62 million, and crude oil exports, down NZ$63 million from April 2014.

Imports were up NZ$104 million (2.6 percent), toNZ $4.0 billion. Capital goods were up NZ$199 million, led by transport equipment (aircraft and parts). Consumption goods rose NZ$54 million, led by food and beverages.

The international trade balance measures the difference between imports and exports of both tangible goods and services. Imports may act as a drag on domestic growth and they may also increase competitive pressures on domestic producers. Exports boost domestic production. Trade balance values are calculated by deducting imports (cif) from exports (fob).

Changes in the level of imports and exports, along with the difference between the two (the trade balance) are a valuable gauge of economic trends here and abroad. While these trade figures can directly impact all financial markets, they primarily affect the value of the NZ dollar in the foreign exchange market. Imports indicate demand for foreign goods in New Zealand. Exports show the demand for NZ goods in countries overseas. The currency can be sensitive to changes in the trade deficit run by New Zealand since this trade imbalance creates greater demand for foreign currencies. The bond market is also sensitive to the risk of importing inflation.