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.
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.
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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.
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.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 25, 2017 18:22 ET (22:22 GMT)