NZ: Merchandise trade

Tue Dec 22 15:45:00 CST 2015

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
Merchandise trade Balance - level NZ$-810M NZ$-779M NZ$-983M NZ$-905M
Exports - M/M percent change 7.0% 4.2% 3.7%
Exports - Y/Y percent change 1.0% -4.5% -4.9%
Imports - M/M percent change 3.0% -0.5% -2.1%
Imports - Y/Y percent change 12.4% -2.2% -3.7%

The November trade deficit was NZ$779 million, down from the revised October deficit of NZ$905 million. The value of total goods imported was NZ$4.9 billion, up NZ$535 million (12 percent) from November 2014. Capital goods led the rise, with transport equipment up NZ$293 million. Excluding large aircraft, total goods imports rose 6.3 percent to NZ$4.5 billion, and capital goods rose NZ$106 million.

For the year ended November 2015, crude oil imports fell 31 percent in value compared with the November 2014 year. The quantity of crude oil imported rose 6.9 percent over that period. Consumption goods rose 19 percent compared with November 2014. The rise in consumption goods values was driven by the lower New Zealand dollar and higher import volumes. The trade weighted index fell 7.8 percent in November 2015 compared with November 2014.

Total goods exported rose NZ$40 million (1.0 percent) in November 2015 compared with November 2014, led by meat and fruit. Milk powder, butter and cheese exports fell 3.3 percent to NZ $1.2 billion. Exports to China rose NZ$117 million, and exports to Australia fell NZ$31 million. This widened the gap between the two countries on an annual basis to NZ$200 million.

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.