New Zealand chalked up its third monthly trade deficit in October, repeating last year's pattern, as shipments of dairy products fell and imports rose.
The deficit was $718 million last month from a revised gap of $775m a month earlier, according to Statistics New Zealand. The annual deficit widened to $1.37 billion from a deficit of $880m in the 12 months through September.
Exports in the month were valued at $3.46b, up from $3.3b in September, though down from $3.89b in October 2011.
Shipments of dairy products dropped 20.2 percent to $813m in the latest month from a year earlier, while meat exports fell 6.6 percent to $277m.
Log exports grew 5.1 percent to $294m.
Imports grew to $4.18b in October from $4.08b in September and were up from $4.11b in October 2011.
Imports of petroleum and related products rose 0.7 percent to $636m last month from a year earlier.
China was the biggest source of imports last month, rising 10.5 percent to $731m, followed by goods from Australia, which fell 4 percent to $626m. The US was in third place, falling 3.1 percent to $369m.
Australia remained the biggest market for New Zealand products, with shipments falling 4.6 percent to $912m, while those to second-ranked China fell 6.4 percent to $456m, and to the US declined 8.7 percent to $281m.