New Zealand reported a seasonally adjusted trade deficit of $1.4 billion in April as imports continue to outstrip exports.
Imports were $7.7bn, down 1.1% compared with March, while exports were $6.3bn, up 8%.
In the year ended April, the annual trade deficit was $16.8bn, which is far larger than it has been for the year ended April in the past decade.
Westpac senior agri economist Nathan Penny said higher oil prices explain a big chunk of the wider deficit over the year, while there is general inflation across imports as well.
He noted the NZ economy has been growing, so domestic demand remained relatively strong over the past year, while export values have grown too, but not at the same pace.
The bulk of the exports continued to go to China. Of a total of $72.8bn in exports in the 12 months ended April, $20.3bn went to China.
Milk powder, butter and cheese remained the leading export group, followed by meat and edible offal.
On the import side, of $89.6bn in imports over the 12 months, $19.4bn came from China.
Petroleum and product imports continued to top the chart, followed by mechanical machinery and equipment.