New Zealand's trade data tops estimates for March

Shall we dance? Photo: Getty/Teaukura Moetaua

New Zealand trade data for March has just been released and it’s beaten expectations.

The trade surplus swelled to $NZ631m from $NZ50m in February. The reading doubled expectations for an increase to $NZ341m and was the largest surplus recorded since April 2014.

Here’s the breakdown as reported by Statistics New Zealand:

“Total goods exports fell $103 million (2.0 per cent), down to $4.9 billion in March 2015 compared with March 2014. Exports to China fell $324 million (29 per cent), due to whole milk powder. Exports to Australia fell $26 million.

Goods imports rose $169 million (4.1 per cent), to reach $4.3 billion in March 2015. Consumption goods (including clothing) led the rise (up 19 per cent).

In March 2015, the trade surplus of $631 million was down from the $904 million surplus in March 2014. Excluding the re-export of a drilling platform to Singapore in March 2015, the trade surplus was $432 million.

For the year ended March 2015, there was an annual trade deficit of $2.4 billion (4.9 per cent of exports). This was the largest annual trade deficit since the year ended July 2009″.

Despite the monthly beat, the 12-month trade deficit swelled to $NZ2.41b – the largest level seen since July 2009 – on the back of a weaker New Zealand dollar and falling whole milk exports to China.

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