Latest trade data shows firms are still investing
Latest trade data shows a continued increase in imports of plant and machinery.
Monthly merchandise trade data released this morning shows a 14% rise in plant and machinery imports on the same time last year.
On an annual basis, where figures are less volatile, there is still a substantial 8.8% rise.
For capital equipment overall, the rise was 17%, or $109 million, for May, the main contributor being increases in sinking and boring machinery and industrial equipment.
Other trade data was less encouraging, although not unexpected.
The overseas trade balance remains in surplus, on a monthly basis, at $301 million, but the annual balance is a $805 million deficit.
For May, exports fell $202 million, to $4.4 billion, with the largest contributor being an $82 million fall in meat and edible offal.
That amounts to a 13% drop, although by quantities, as opposed to value, the dip was 2.2%.
The other main falls were log and wood items, down $63 million, dairy products, down $60 million, ships and boats, a drop of $52 million, and crude oil, down $43 million.
By country, the largest decrease was a $106 million, or 11%, fall in exports to Australia.
On the import side of the ledger – apart form the rise in capital goods already mentioned – consumption goods rose 4%.
But intermediate goods fell $280 million, or 13%, mostly because of falls in two always-volatile categories, transport equipment (down $211 million) and crude oil ($140 million down).