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Michael Gordon, analyst at Westpac, notes that the New Zealand recorded a whopping $922m trade surplus in March, much stronger than market forecasts and well above even Westpac’s top-of-the-market pick of $400m.

Key Quotes

“Part of the improvement in March was seasonal, with exports usually nearing their peak at this time of year. Even so, the seasonally adjusted surplus of $201m comes after a 14-month string of deficits.”

“Exports were up 11.5% in seasonally adjusted terms. There was a strong lift in volumes for both dairy and meat, along with growth in wood, fruit and oil exports.”

“This was an exceptionally strong month for exports, and we would expect some reversal in April. That said, the sharp rise in dairy export prices in recent auctions, which will more than offset lower volumes, has yet to come through in the trade figures.”

“Seasonally adjusted imports were down 1.3%, reflecting a decline in imports of various materials. Petroleum imports rose, with world oil prices rising again recently. Imports of capital equipment have picked up since the end of last year, and were broadly steady in March.”