8 October 1999
Exports continue to pick up
Treasurer Bill English said overseas trade data released today showed that exports were picking up in the September
"The trade deficit rose again on a monthly basis in August. However, this masks a rise in exports. It is encouraging to
see the value of exports continuing to rise.
"We need to close the trade deficit. To achieve that, exporters need the support of Government policies that reduce
costs and improve productivity, such as the changes to ACC, retaining the Employment Contracts Act, and lower taxes.
"In the June quarter, weak exports were a key factor behind the fall in GDP and the rise in the current account
deficit. This latest data is a clear sign that export growth has improved in the September quarter.
"Exports of manufacturing and forestry products have increased from June. In addition, exports of agricultural products
are also showing signs of improvement. This is consistent with evidence that the number of livestock killed in September
was well up on the record low in June, and with reports from the dairy industry that dairy production will be 10% higher
this season than last.
"The outlook for exports is good. The exchange rate is competitive, interest rates are low, and the international
economy is picking up which bodes well for commodity prices.
"Other data released this morning, showing increases in the number of jobs being advertised and positive consumer
confidence, illustrate that there are reasons to be confident about the economy going forward," said Mr English.