New Zealand Trade Deficit Narrows in September as Dairy Exports Rise

By Ben Collins Features Dow Jones Newswires

WELLINGTON, New Zealand--New Zealand posted a slightly smaller trade deficit in September on higher sales of milk and cream to China, Statistics New Zealand said Thursday.

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The nation's merchandise trade deficit came to 1.14 billion New Zealand dollars ($790 million) last month compared with a NZ$1.38 billion deficit a year ago.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a median deficit of NZ$900 million for the month.

Milk powder, butter, and cheese exports rose NZ$175 million in September 2017 to reach NZ$791 million, up 28% on the same month last year, Stats NZ said.

"The increases in both butter and milk powder were price-driven," international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. "Milk and cream were mainly volume-driven, especially to China, though prices were up, too," he said.

Stats NZ said imports for September totaled NZ$4.92 billion, while exports totaled NZ$3.78 billion.

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New Zealand reported a NZ$2.9 billion trade deficit for the 12 months to September. Economists had expected a deficit of NZ$2.7 billion.

In August, New Zealand posted a trade surplus of NZ$1.2 billion.

Write to Ben Collins at ben.collins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 25, 2017 18:22 ET (22:22 GMT)