A big jump in dairy exports in the three months to September 30 helped achieve a trade surplus of $147 million for the quarter.
But milk powder, cheese and butter exports dropped away again in the September month, compared with a year ago.
The small surplus for the September quarter followed trade deficits of $698m in the March quarter and $581m in the June quarter.
For the September quarter, seasonally adjusted exports rose 5.1 per cent, to $11.9 billion. Seasonally adjusted imports dropped 1.3 per cent, to $11.8 billion, compared with the June quarter.
"Dairy products led the return to surplus," industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. "Milk powder, butter, and cheese exports rose 16 per cent for the quarter, with high values in July and August."
But for the September month, milk powder, butter, and cheese exports fell $77 million (11 per cent) compared with September 2011.
Total export values fell $136 million (3.9 per cent). Imports fell $133 million (3.1 per cent), led by a fall in mechanical machinery and equipment.
The trade balance for the September 2012 month was a deficit of $791 million (24 per cent of exports). This compares with an average deficit of 23 per cent of exports over the previous five September months.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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