New Zealand posted its first trade deficit for a June month in six years as imports rose more than expected.
Statistics New Zealand said the country had a trade deficit of $60 million in June, its first deficit for the month since 2009, and contrary to economist expectations in a Reuters poll for a $100 million surplus. It compares with a $240 million surplus for the year earlier month and a revised $371 million surplus in May.
Imports in June rose 9 percent from the year earlier to $4.29 billion, even though the year earlier month included a large gain from the importation of an aircraft. That”s ahead of the $3.95 billion expected in the Reuters poll. The increase in the latest month was led by a range of consumption goods from China, such as clothing, and machine and plant from China such as mobile phones, the agency said.
Exports in June gained 1.3 percent to a record for the month of $4.23 billion, and ahead of the $4.09 billion expected in the Reuters poll. Increased exports of logs, meat and fruit outweighed declines in shipments of milk powder, online casino butter and cheese, the agency said.
The annual trade balance widened to a $2.85 billion deficit, from a revised $2.55 billion deficit in May, and compared with a $2.7 billion deficit expected in the Reuters poll. It is the largest annual trade deficit since the year ended July 2009, the agency said.
Exports to China, the country’s largest trading partner, increased 2.9 percent in June compared with the same month a year earlier as gains in exports of logs, meat and fruit outweighed declines in whole milk powder, the agency said.
“When we compare the same months a year apart, this is the first monthly increase in exports to China since August 2014,” international statistics manager Jason Attewell said.