The trade balance swung unexpectedly into deficit of $217 million in the June quarter – let’s call it the Jetstar effect.
The new budget airline imported a few aircraft, valued at $571 million, and without those there would have been a decrease of 8.7% in imports over the three months, Statistics New Zealand said today.
More significant than the Jetstar effect though is the fall in “intermediate goods” – a miscellaneous category which basically includes inputs into business.
These include fertiliser and other processed industrial supplies – down $228 million; processed fuels and lubricant, down $207 million, and parts and accessories of capital goods, down $191 million.
These fell 12.6%, or $634 million, over the quarter.
Capital goods imports rose $267 million, but this against-the-trend rise was due to the Jetstar effect. The crucial machinery and plant part of capital goods fell $262 million – 14.8% - which followed a 2.4% decline in the March quarter.
Imports of passenger cars, which have recently been on the decline, took an upward turn, rising by $57 million or 15.5%. This though is from a historically low level – imports have been around the $800 million a quarter for nearly a decade but slumped below $400 million in the last half of 2008.
On the export side the value fell 5.4% from the March quarter, which in turn fell5%.
The main contributor is the fall in dairy prices. The value of exports of casein and caseinates showed the largest drop, down by 21.9% – despite a 6.3% rise in the quantity exported. Milk powder, butter and cheese also fell, by 12.9% - again, despite a rise in quantities, in this case by 22.1%.