26 Aug 2015

Import growth 'positive sign' for economy

3:49 pm on 26 August 2015

New Zealand has posted a trade deficit, with official figures showing a shortfall of $649 million in July.

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Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

Exports grew by 14 percent to $4.2 billion, due to higher sales of fruit, including kiwifruit, while dairy edged up.

Imports rose by 5 percent to $4.8 billion, led by clothing and mobile phones.

Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said import growth indicated that demand had held up.

"That's a positive sign for the current demand picture in the economy."

But Mr Ranchhod expected demand to soften, and he was worried about the effect of a slowing Chinese economy on exports.

"The New Zealand dollar will provide some offset to the weakness in China and in some export prices, but nonetheless we do expect some tough times in the export sector as farmers adjust to those lower global prices."

On an annual basis, the deficit stood at $2.7 billion.

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