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Miles Workman, senior economist at ANZ, points out that the New Zealand’s unadjusted monthly trade balance posted a solid $922m surplus in March, well above ANZ, and market, expectations of $300m and $130m respectively.

Key Quotes

“The surprise was on both sides: exports at $5.7bn (a record high) were above expectations, and imports at $4.8bn were below.”

“On a seasonally adjusted basis, exports increased 11.5% m/m, with all major categories except seafood rising.”

“Seasonally adjusted imports fell 1.3% m/m, with weakness concentrated in textiles (down 26.9%).”

“China remains at the top of the export destinations list, up a whopping 52.1% versus March last year. Year-to-date exports to China trended higher, up 20.8% y/y.”

“Over Q1, the seasonally adjusted goods deficit narrowed $700m to $1.0bn, with exports up 2.0% and imports down 2.5%.”

“Looking forward, we expect to see ongoing broad-based strength in export values. But in seasonally adjusted terms, it appears much of the pipeline strength for volumes is now working its way through the trade data, suggesting positive net exports contributions to GDP growth are poised to fade heading into mid-2019.”