SYDNEY–New Zealand’s merchandise trade surplus came to 217 million New Zealand dollars in February, despite strength in imports.
Economists had expected a median deficit of NZ$181 million for the month.
Imports rose in February to a new high for a February month, Stats NZ said Monday. The increase was driven by machinery imports, and came despite a fall in the value of car imports.
The delay in the unloading of four vehicle carriers at New Zealand ports had an impact on the total value of vehicle imports in February, Stats NZ said.
The discovery of insects on these vessels meant that around 8,000 cars could not enter the country as scheduled, it added.
The goods on these vehicle carriers would normally have been included in February’s import statistics, but will now be included in the statistics of the month when the respective shipments are unloaded, it said.
Imports of passenger motor cars fell NZ$126 million, or 33%, from February a year ago, to NZ$257 million, the lowest monthly value since March 2013.
Despite the fall in vehicle imports, total imports were up 4.6% from a year earlier to NZ$4.2 billion.
The rise in total imports was led by mechanical and electrical machinery and equipment such as harvesting machinery and mobile phones, and palm kernel, the statistician said.
Exports rose NZ$446 million or 11% to NZ $4.5 billion in February, led by increases in sheep meat and forestry products.
–Write to James Glynn at email@example.com