New Zealand sees mixed export results in February

Wednesday, 23. March 2016 22:57

Stock market in Wellington started the trading day with modest gains. The main S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.26% to 6,686 points by 11:00 p.m. CET (11:00 a.m. NZT), with the NZ dollar feeling pressure from the U.S. counterpart after Federal Reserve officials raised prospects of interest rate hikes in 2016.

Goods exports were valued at NZ$4.0 billion, up NZ$96 million or 2.5%, when compared with February a year ago, according to data published by Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) on Wednesday. Imports rose NZ$108 million, or 2.8%, to NZ$3.9 billion in the year ending February. Trade surplus stood at NZ$72 million, or 1.8% of exports.

There was a significant increase in exports of fish and related products, but all-important dairy industry is suffering.

"Export results were mixed in February 2016, with many commodities rising in value. But falls for some of our main commodities, including beef, lamb, and milk powder, meant that the rise was limited," said Stuart Jones, international statistics senior manager at SNZ.

The NZ dollar fell 0.02% against the U.S. dollar, and 0.01% versus its main counterpart - the Australian dollar. The kiwi was weaker 0.05% against the Japanese yen, while losing 0.03% versus the euro at 11:04 p.m. CET (11:04 a.m. NZT).

Two Fed officials, John Williams and Dennis Lockhart, have both said rate hikes could come sooner rather than later, and new Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker went further, suggesting the Federal Reserve should consider hiking rates in April, as crude oil prices had "seemingly bottomed out or stabilised," and the Fed is close to reach its 2% inflation target.

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