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Exports and imports are both up in the latest trade figures.
October's trade balance was a deficit of $282 million, Statistics New Zealand announced this morning, taking the annual trade balance to a surplus of $627 million.
The monthly trade figures usually dip into deficit at this time of the year due to seasonal factors affecting agricultural exports.
However the monthly deficit is almost half the consensus market forecast, which was for a deficit of $450 million.
Exports rose 5.3% to $3.9 billion, with the largest increases being in meat products and crude oil. the trend for exports, a measure which reflects the rate of increase in export values, has increased 28% since the low point in october 2011 and is at a record high level, says Statistics New Zealand industry and labour statistics manager Neil Kelly.
Imports rose 6.6% to $4.2 billion, and it is here that some of the best news lies. The rise in imports is being driven by investment and not consumption. Imports of consumption goods are actually flat, up by 0.6%.
The rises are in intermediate goods, up 10% or $181 million, with the main increases being in fertilisers and other process industrial supplies, but also with crude oil and processed fuels and lubricants. Even more importantly, imports of capital goods continues to rise, indicating New Zealand businesses are expanding capacity.
Plant and machinery imports are up $90 million in the month, and have risen 16.4% over the year. Mechanical machinery and equipment imports have risen 27% since the September 2009 low point.