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Exports and imports decline
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 May 2009

Overseas Merchandise Trade: April 2009  –  Media Release

Exports and imports decline

The value of merchandise exports and imports both fell in April 2009 compared with April 2008, down 4.6 percent and 18.1 percent respectively, Statistics New Zealand said today.

The decrease in exports was led by crude oil, but was partly offset by increases in fruit, and meat and edible offal exports. The imports decrease is the largest since the series began (in dollar terms), but was primarily due to large, one-off capital items that were imported in April 2008. If these items were excluded, this month’s decrease would have been 7.3 percent.

The trend for total exports has flattened recently, rising at an average of less than 0.1 percent per month since October 2008. The trend for total merchandise imports has been decreasing since September 2008, down a total of 11.0 percent since then.

The trade balance for April 2009 was a surplus of $276 million or 7.5 percent of the value of exports – the largest surplus for an April month since 2001. The trend for the trade balance has risen significantly over the past eight months. While still in deficit, the trade balance trend is at its highest level since April 2002.

 Geoff Bascand 26 May 2009 
 Government Statistician  

END

For media enquiries contact:
Louise Holmes-Oliver
Christchurch 03 964 8700
Email: overseastrade@stats.govt.nz  

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