World Economy

New Zealand Trade Deficit Largest in a Decade

New Zealand Trade Deficit Largest in a DecadeNew Zealand Trade Deficit Largest in a Decade

New Zealand’s goods trade deficit reached a near 10-year high in the March 2018 quarter, Stats NZ said Friday. The goods trade shortfall reflects high fuel imports and a fall in dairy, meat and forestry exports.

In the March 2018 quarter, there was a seasonally adjusted goods trade deficit of $1.8 billion. Total seasonally adjusted imports were valued at $15.3 billion, down 0.1% in the March 2018 quarter and total exports were valued at $13.5 billion, down 5.8%, Scoop reported.

“The deficit in the March 2018 quarter was driven by a decrease in exports–especially in dairy, meat and forestry,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “However, this quarter’s decrease follows a 7.1% rise last quarter, which was led by the same three commodities.”

The March 2018 quarter’s deficit was the largest since the June 2008 quarter, and the 16th consecutive quarterly deficit since the March 2014 quarter.

The seasonally adjusted trade balance for the June 2008 quarter was a deficit of $2 billion (19% of exports). The major factors that contributed to this trade deficit included imports of an oil rig and floating platform, and high petroleum and products values.

Imports of capital goods fell 12% due to lower levels for transport equipment, and passenger motor cars (down 6.4%). But intermediate goods rose 5.2%, led by crude oil, and gasoline and jet fuel (up 41%).

 CCI Falls

New Zealand consumer confidence dropped back to long-run averages in April as consumers grew less optimistic about their financial futures.

The Australia and New Zealand Bank’s Roy Morgan consumer confidence index fell 7.5 points to 120.5 in April, slightly above the historical average. The current conditions index dropped 5 points to 123.1 while the future conditions index fell 9 points to 118.7.

Of the survey’s 1,005 respondents, a net 13% saw good economic times in the coming 12 months, down from a net 25% in March, and the five-year outlook dropped 7 points, with a net 18% seeing good times ahead.

A net 9% of respondents felt they and their families were better off financially than this time last year, from a net 16% in March, and a net 25% expect to be better off financially a year from now, down from 34%.

“A strong labor market, low interest rates and a steady housing market are supporting sentiment. Nonetheless, consumers appear to be feeling a little less bullet-proof, with a more historically typical degree of wariness of what the future may bring, despite still-strong perceived current conditions,” said Sharon Zollner, chief economist at ANZ Bank New Zealand.

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