Worst Of Asian Crisis May Be Behind Us

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith holds "quiet hopes" that the worst of the Asian Economic Crisis may be behind New Zealand after provisional merchandise trade statistics suggested exports in September 1998 may have been up 9.6% compared with September 1997.

Dr Smith was commenting after the release of the Statistics New Zealand data this morning.

"The statistics suggest we are earning 23% more from Europe than a year ago, while the value of our exports to Asia has held steady," he said.

"The value of our exports to Australia are also up on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis suggesting that the extent of indirect effects of the Asian Crisis, through Australia, may not be as great as first feared.

"The good news for New Zealand and New Zealanders must be disappointing to the doom merchants on the left like Michael Cullen."

Dr Smith also said it was pleasing that the improving trend in the merchandise trade balance had now continued for five months and that the deficit in the September provisional merchandise trade balance was significantly lower than a year ago.

The provisional statistics suggest the value of merchandise exports in September was significantly down compared with a year ago to Japan (5%), Korea (20%), Malaysia (13.3%), the Philippines (12.3%) and Thailand (16.6%).

However, the value of merchandise exports was up significantly to the USA (26.5%), Germany (24.4%), the People's Republic of China (10.4%), Belgium (56.3%), Italy (45.5%) and Singapore (12.5%).