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Overseas Merchandise Trade: November 2011
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  09 January 2012
Data quality

Period-specific information
This section contains data information that has changed since the last release.

General information
This section contains information that does not change between releases.

Period-specific information

Time of recording – number of working days

There were 22 working days in both November 2011 and November 2010.

General information

Merchandise trade – data source

Data is obtained from export and import entry documents lodged with the New Zealand Customs Service (NZCS). The data is processed and passed to Statistics NZ for further editing and compilation.

Export values given in foreign currencies are converted by Statistics NZ into New Zealand dollars, using weekly exchange rates when the statistics are compiled. For exports, a rise in the New Zealand dollar has a downward influence on prices and, as a consequence, quantities and values reduce.

Import values are converted from foreign currencies when import documents are processed by NZCS. The exchange rates used are set by NZCS each fortnight. These rates are prepared 11 days before the start of the fortnight, so have a lag of 11 to 25 days compared with the daily rates published by the Reserve Bank. For imports, a rise in the New Zealand dollar has a downward influence on prices and an upward influence on quantities. The combined influence on values can be either positive or negative.

Crude oil imports – effects of timing of recording

Imports are generally compiled by date-of-entry clearance by NZCS. NZCS entries are required from up to five days before, to 20 working days after, arrival of goods into New Zealand. The exception to this rule is for crude oil imports, which can have entries lodged later than 20 working days after entry into New Zealand.

Crude oil values for the latest month are estimated using actual quantities and country-of-origin data (provided by NZCS, based on information from the refinery at Marsden Point), together with estimated prices. These estimates for crude oil are replaced once actual entries are lodged with NZCS.

While all entries are provisional for the latest three months, and have the potential to be changed by the importer/exporter within this period, changes are not common, and generally do not have a material impact on the results. However, New Zealand has only a few ships carrying crude oil arriving each month, and each ship represents a high proportion of the monthly total of imported crude oil. Any variation in the data for crude oil resulting from a later lodgement date can result in a significant revision to the value. Once actual lodgements are received by Statistics NZ from NZCS, the value for crude oil can be regarded as robust.

Exports – timing of recording and undercoverage

From the August 1997 reference month, exports are compiled by date of export. Previously, exports were generally compiled according to date of clearance by NZCS. This meant that some goods were allocated to the month following their actual month of export. Exports up to July 1997 that were not processed until August 1997 were assigned to the month of August 1997.

From 1 March 2004, NZCS has not allowed goods to be loaded for export until an export entry has been lodged and cleared. A study undertaken in 2001/02 indicated that export entries not being lodged might account for between 1 and 3 percent of exports at that time. There is a possibility that the change in NZCS processes may have reduced this undercoverage, although this has not been quantified.

Seasonally adjusted series

Seasonally adjusted series are calculated monthly and for calendar quarters, using X-12-ARIMA, which adjusts for outlying values and uses a centred moving average.

Seasonal adjustment removes the estimated impact of regular seasonal events, such as pre-Christmas purchasing, from time series. This makes the figures for adjacent periods more comparable. Seasonally adjusted figures are estimates and are subject to revision each period, with the largest changes generally occurring in the latest periods.

Further information is on the seasonal adjustment in Statistics New Zealand web page.

Trend series

Time series can be split into trend, seasonal, and irregular components. Seasonal adjustment removes the seasonal component, while trend estimation removes the seasonal and irregular components. Trend estimates reveal the underlying direction of movement in a series and are used to identify turning points.

The trend series are calculated using X-12-ARIMA. The length of the centred moving average is selected automatically and can be 9, 13, or 23 months, depending on the relative variability of the irregular component compared with the trend. A long moving average has the effect of smoothing the trend series but slowing the response to underlying changes in growth rates. A short moving average produces a trend series that is less smooth but quicker to identify turning points.

To improve estimation of the underlying movement, the imports trend is calculated after removal of individual import items that have cif values of $100 million or more, such as large aircraft and ships. The trade balance trend is calculated by subtracting the imports trend from the exports trend.

Trend figures are recalculated each month. Using new monthly data means that previously published trend estimates are revised. These revisions mainly affect the latest months, and can be large if a trade value is initially treated as an outlier but is later found to be part of the underlying trend.

Broad economic category groups

Broad economic category (BEC) groups are arranged, as far as practicable, to align with the System of National Accounts’ three basic classes: capital goods, intermediate goods, and consumption goods. Commodities in BEC groups are categorised on the basis of their main end use. This means, for example, that all video recorders are treated as consumption goods even though some are used in business. Similarly, all helicopters are treated as transport equipment even though some are military goods (and are treated as such in the national accounts).

New Zealand Harmonised System Classification

Commodities are classified according to the New Zealand Harmonised System Classification (NZHSC). The NZHSC was revised from the January 2007 reference month, to incorporate changes promulgated by the World Customs Organization. Details can be found in the Overseas Merchandise Trade: January 2007 information release published on 26 February 2007. See Overseas Merchandise Trade – information releases for this and all other releases.

The Overseas Merchandise Trade: December 2011 information release, to be released on 27 January 2012, will be the last release to use the 2007 Harmonised System classification (HS2007). Data for January 2012 will be released using the 2012 Harmonised System classification (HS2012). See Harmonised System 2012 and trade statistics for a preliminary analysis of how the statistics may change.

Standard International Trade Classification

The Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) is an output classification, which uses Harmonised System (HS) codes at the six-digit level as building blocks. It was designed by the United Nations as an analytical tool for economic analysis, which includes some simple implications regarding level of processing. Published figures are at a high level of aggregation; more disaggregated information is available on Infoshare. For customised jobs using the SITC Rev 4 classification, contact customer services at: info@stats.govt.nz.

Overseas merchandise trade (OMT) statistics are compiled in close accordance with the United Nations' International Merchandise Trade Statistics Concepts and Definitions. OMT data, after adjustment, is used in the balance of payments and national accounts. The adjustments are for coverage, timing, valuation, and classification, and are explained in Balance of Payments – Sources and Methods 2004.

Confidential items

Under Section 37A (d) of the Statistics Act, the Government Statistician may disclose details of external trade, movement of ships, and cargo handled at ports. However, Statistics NZ understands that the release of merchandise trade commodity information can, in some cases, place commercially sensitive information in the public domain. Statistics NZ is able to provide a limited form of confidential status for commodity items (at the discretion of the Government Statistician), upon application by a company or business.

In practice, all confidential HS codes are aggregated into the code 9809.00.00.00 in order to protect their confidentiality and to maintain total export and import values. Any aggregations of HS codes below this level, which encompass confidential 10-digit codes, exclude the confidential value(s) for these codes.

The only aggregates that include the confidential codes are total exports, total imports, and the total exports and imports by country.

More information

More information about Overseas Merchandise Trade is available on our website.

Liability

While all care and diligence has been used in processing, analysing, and extracting data and information in this publication, Statistics NZ gives no warranty it is error-free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use directly, or indirectly, of the information in this publication.

Timing

Timed statistical releases are delivered using postal and electronic services provided by third parties. Delivery of these releases may be delayed by circumstances outside the control of Statistics NZ. Statistics NZ accepts no responsibility for any such delays.

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