29 Mar 2011

Trade surplus recorded in February

12:45 pm on 29 March 2011

Surging global demand for dairy products has helped bolster New Zealand exports and led to the first annual trade surplus for February in nearly a decade.

Official figures show a surplus of $758 million for the year, the first since 2002.

For the month, the surplus narrowed to $194 million.

Exports rose 17% to $3.9 billion in February, compared with the same period a year ago, with the main contribution coming from milk powder, butter and cheese.

But surging commodity prices also pumped up imports, which rose 23% to $3.7 billion, led by higher oil prices.

ASB economist Jane Turner says the surplus underlines the export-led recovery, though it is not filtering through to the rest of the economy as farmers focus on repaying debt.