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Imports down, exports rising steadily
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 February 2009

Overseas Merchandise Trade: January 2009  –  Media Release

The value of merchandise imports fell 0.9 percent ($32 million) in January 2009 compared with January 2008, Statistics New Zealand said today. This fall is the first decrease in imports since August 2007. The value of merchandise exports increased 3.0 percent ($92 million) during the same period.

This month’s fall in imports was led by a $105 million decrease in the value of passenger motor cars, with significantly fewer cars being imported. Over half of this decrease came from reduced values of used cars with petrol engine capacities between 1500 and 3000cc. The largest increase in imports was from a $91 million rise in petroleum and products, led by an increase in crude oil quantities.

This month’s increase in exports was led by rises in the value of preparations of cereals, flour and starch (up $52 million); and casein and caseinates (up $50 million). The largest offsetting decrease was from a $214 million fall in crude oil, resulting from both decreased prices and quantities.

In January 2009, the monthly trade balance was a deficit of $187 million, or 5.9 percent of exports. This is the smallest deficit for a January month since 2001.

The trend for merchandise imports has eased significantly since June 2008, and now appears to be declining. The trend for exports continues to rise steadily.

Geoff Bascand 26 February 2009
Government Statistician  

END

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

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