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China's demand for live cattle helps cut New Zealand trade deficit

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WELLINGTON, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Exports of live cattle to China helped narrow New Zealand's trade deficit last month, the government statistics agency announced Wednesday.

Exports rose by 227 million NZ dollars (183.18 million U.S. dollars) year on year to 3.5 billion NZ dollars (2.82 billion U.S. dollars), according to Statistics New Zealand.

The August deficit at 13 percent of exports was the smallest August deficit since 2010, and compared with an average deficit of 24 percent of exports over the previous five August months.

Live animals exports were up from 94 million NZ dollars (75.85 million U.S. dollars) to 110 million NZ dollars (88.76 million U.S. dollars) year on year, due to a rise of live cattle, including dairy cattle, all going to China.

A 16-percent rise in milk powder, butter and cheese exports also contributed to the increase in total exports, led by higher quantities.

"It is the first time in three years that a rise in dairy was not led by milk powder," international statistics manager Jason Attewell said in a statement.

Milk powder, butter and cheese exports to China fell 35 percent, but China remained the top destination for the products, taking 14 percent of the total for the month.

China was New Zealand's biggest export destination, taking goods valued at 53 million NZ dollars (42.77 million U.S. dollars) in August, up 9.7 percent year on year, followed by Australia, the European Union, the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The value of imported goods fell by 536 million NZ dollars (432. 54 million U.S. dollars) year on year to 4 billion NZ dollars (322. 79 billion U.S. dollars), influenced by the one-off import of a drilling platform in August last year.

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