New Zealand had a merchandise trade surplus of NZ$33 million in March, Statistics New Zealand said on Thursday.

That follows the upwardly revised NZ$201 million surplus in February (originally NZ$181 million).

Exports came in at NZ$5.68 billion, up from the upwardly revised NZ$4.5 billion in the previous month (originally NZ$4.47 billion).

The main driver was an NZ$87 million fall in preparations of milk, cereals, flour, and starch (mostly infant formula), with the fall led by China (NZ$45 million).

Meat exports were also down, falling by NZ$73 million to NZ$927 million, after a record month last year.

Imports were worth NZ$5.65 billion in March, up from the upwardly revised NZ$4.3 billion a month earlier (originally NZ$4.29 billion).

The increase in imports was driven by a range of commodities, with large movements in vehicles, parts, and accessories (up NZ$190 million), mechanical machinery and equipment (up NZ$127 million), textiles and textile articles (up NZ$125 million), and electrical machinery and equipment (up NZ$115 million).

The value of crude oil imports was NZ$72 million, down NZ$399 million from the same period last year.

On a yearly basis, exports were down 2.3 percent and imports climbed 11.0 percent.

For the first quarter of 2021, exports fell 2.5 percent on quarter (NZ$367 million) to NZ$14.5 billion, following a 0.2 percent rise in the December 2021 quarter.

Imports rose 7.5 percent on quarter (NZ$1.1 billion) to NZ$15.6 billion, following a 4.7 percent rise in the December 2021 quarter.

The quarterly trade balance was a deficit of NZ$1.1 billion.

On a yearly basis, goods exports were valued at NZ$58.9 billion, down NZ$1.7 billion (2.8 percent) from the previous year.

Goods imports were valued at NZ$57.3 billion, down NZ$6.8 billion (11 percent) from the previous year.

The annual goods trade balance was a surplus of NZ$1.7 billion. In the year ended March 2020, there was a deficit of NZ$3.4 billion.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company –

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