New Zealand posts largest ever monthly trade deficit in Aug
WELLINGTON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - New Zealand posted its largest monthly trade deficit on record in August as exports failed to keep up with a surge in key imports, official data showed on Wednesday, although analysts pointed to some bright spots in the numbers.
Statistics New Zealand figures showed the monthly trade deficit had widened to NZ$1.484 billion ($985 million) last month from a revised NZ$196 million in July.
The annual deficit was NZ$4.81 billion, compared to a revised NZ$4.5 billion the previous month.
The New Zealand dollar edged down to $0.6633 from $0.6644 in the wake of the release. It last stood at $0.6638.
One bright spot was im ports of capital equipment holding up in August, rising 2 percent, which economists said was welcome given the worries that decade-low business confidence might prompt firms to hold off on investment.
"There's a lot of nervousness in the business sector right now but at least for now it looks like they're still in the mood to invest and that's a positive sign for the economy," said Satish Ranchhod, senior economist at Westpac Bank.
The deficit ballooned as values for exports, which totalled NZ$4.05 billion for the month, lagged behind imports of NZ$5.54 billion.
"This month's rise in imports to near-record levels occurs at the time of year when exports are typically at a low point," Tehseen Islam of Statistics NZ said in an emailed statement.
Crude oil led the jump in import values, with prices rising about 60 percent over the year.
($1 = 1.5060 New Zealand dollars)
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