21 Dec 2011

Increase in current account deficit

6:49 pm on 21 December 2011

The gap between what New Zealand earns overseas and what it pays to foreigners continued to widen in the September quarter.

The current account deficit increased from $2 billion to $2.7 billion in the three months to the end of September as export income fell and payments to banks offshore rose.

The fall is largely due to lower prices for meat, dairy and forestry products, which crimped export returns.

Statistics New Zealand says a bigger fall in exports than imports contributed to a $0.5 billion drop in the goods trade balance.

But that was offset slightly by a reduction in the services deficit due to spending by foreigners during the Rugby World Cup.

The gap between income from foreigners' investments here and New Zealanders' assets overseas slipped further into the red.

Foreigners earned $441 million more from their investments here, due mainly to higher profits at the Australian-owned banks.

Those banks also borrowed more during the quarter, helping to push New Zealand's net international debt to $148 billion, up nearly $10 billion.