NZ posts smaller current account deficit

JAMES WEIR
Last updated 11:28 19/06/2013

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Rising exports and tourists spending more in New Zealand have seen New Zealand's current account deficit improve in the March quarter.

The current account deficit is 4.8 per cent of GDP for the March year, compared with 5 per cent for the December year, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Earlier this year, there had been concerns that the deficit could worsen further towards the key level of 6 per cent of GDP.

Figures out this morning show the seasonally adjusted current account deficit was $2.2 billion in the March quarter.

The deficit was about $300m smaller than the December quarter, when the shortfall was $2.5b.

A current account deficit means the rest of the world earned more from New Zealand than New Zealand earned from overseas.

The smaller deficit in the March quarter was due to a $404m lift in the the surplus for the balance on goods and services.

Statistics NZ said the balance on goods and services grew $404m from the December quarter, reflecting higher exports, mainly dairy products, and higher spending by foreign tourists in New Zealand.

The balance on income and transfers internationally was relatively flat in the March quarter.

Net international liabilities were $146.7b at the end of March, equal to 69.3 per cent of GDP, which was $2.9b less than at the end of December. That reflected rising overseas share prices lifting the value of New Zealand's overseas assets.

The annual current account deficit was equal to $10.1b in the March year, compared with $10.5b in the December year.

For that period imports fell about $400m, mainly because of lower volumes of petrol.

Statistics NZ also said that total international reinsurance claims from all Canterbury earthquakes were now estimated at $18.6b, up about $700m on earlier estimates.

As at the end of March, a total of $9.2b of the claims had been settled with overseas reinsurers, leaving $9.5b of claims outstanding.

Claims worth about $1b were settled in the March quarter, compared with $1.5b in the December quarter.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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