November 24, 2017 / 12:47 AM / a year ago

New Zealand trade deficit narrows despite imports at record high

FILE PHOTO: Containers are stacked at the port of Auckland September 30, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand’s trade deficit narrowed in October as dairy and lamb shipments fueled a jump in exports, despite imports hitting a record high.

The trade deficit narrowed in October to NZ$871 million ($599.94 million) from NZ$1.156 billion in September, according to data from Statistics New Zealand on Friday.

The annual trade deficit, however, widened only slightly to NZ$2.986 billion in October from a NZ$2.913 billion deficit the month prior.

Imports hit a record $5.4 billion in October, with increases across a wide range of commodities, according to the statistics agency.

The New Zealand dollar NZD=D4 was largely unchanged, trading around $0.6888.

“Intermediate goods, used as ingredients or inputs into the production of other goods and services, were the leading contributor to the increase in imports in October,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said.

Total exports rose to NZ$4.561 billion in October from NZ$3.774 billion in September, with dairy products and lamb shipments the key driver.

There was also a decrease in the value of aircraft imports, the statistics office added.

($1=1.4518 New Zealand dollars)

Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Charlotte Greenfield, editing by G Crosse

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