26 Nov 2015

Annual trade deficit stays close to six-year high

1:51 pm on 26 November 2015

New Zealand's annual trade deficit has stayed close to a six year high in October, as exports fell more than imports.

Official figures show a deficit of $963 million in October, close to expectations, but an improvement on the billion dollar shortfalls of the previous two months.

Exports were slightly up on September, but still down on a year ago, because of falling dairy exports.

Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon said the import side remained lower, despite a falling dollar.

"You've still got a lot of global downward pressure on a lot of traded items and in particular in terms of a lot of the stuff that New Zealand buys," he said.

The deficit for the 12 months to October widened slightly to $3.2 billion.

The figures also showed that China has retaken the top spot as the country's biggest trade partner.