24 Aug 2012

Biggest monthly trade surplus so far this year

8:56 pm on 24 August 2012

A big fall in imports has led to the country's biggest monthly trade surplus so far this year.

Statistics New Zealand says there was a surplus of $126 million in July, adjusting for normal seasonal trade patterns.

Exports fell 0.4%, but imports fell by more, down 1.5%.

Exports exceeded $4 billion for the second consecutive month.

Most major export commodities fell, compared with the previous month, but that was largely offset by the price of milk powder, as well as butter and cheese, which rose 20%.

ASB Bank economist Jane Turner says demand for milk-based products remains strong from Asia, and this is currency having a greater impact than the drought in the USA.

Ms Turner says the high New Zealand dollar and slower global growth is hurting the manufacturing sector.

On an annual basis, the trade balance remains in deficit to the tune of $853 million.