New Zealand posts trade surplus

Wellington, July 24 (IANS) New Zealand posted a surprise trade surplus last month as a drop in petroleum and petroleum products imports offset a fall in the value of exports, the government statistics agency announced Wednesday.

Export values in June fell by 161 million NZ dollars ($128.29 million), or 3.9 percent, compared with June 2012, and imports decreased 286 million NZ dollars, or 7.4 percent, leaving a trade surplus of 414 million NZ dollars, or 10 percent of exports, reported Xinhua.

Petroleum and products imports fell by 25 percent, or 186 million NZ dollars, from June last year, led by falls in diesel and crude oil.

Meanwhile, export values of milk powder, butter, and cheese fell 139 million NZ dollars, or 14 percent, to 838 million NZ dollars, with quantities down 26 percent.

China showed the largest increase in exports, up 106 million NZ dollars, or 18 percent, led by frozen lamb cuts and pine logs.

The value of exported goods fell 4.7 percent to 11 billion NZ dollars in the June quarter, following a rise of 0.4 percent in the March quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand.

"Dairy and meat exports led the fall, with values and quantities down for both," industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said in a statement.

The value of imported goods increased 1 percent to 11.6 billion NZ dollars in the June quarter, leaving a trade deficit of 669 million NZ dollars, or 6.1 percent of exports, following a deficit of 14 million NZ dollars for the March quarter.

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