By James Glynn

WELLINGTON--New Zealand posted a narrower-than-expected trade deficit in October of 846 million New Zealand dollars, with strong growth in dairy exports behind the result

Economists had forecast a deficit of NZ$971 million over the month.

The value of exports totaled NZ$3.9 billion, compared with the value of imports at NZ$4.7 billion, New Zealand's statistics agency said Friday.

For the 12 months to September, the deficit was also narrower than expected at NZ$3.3 billion.

Dairy products led a rise in total exports in October, but meat and offal exports were down from the same month last year, according to the report.

Dairy exports rose by $122 million or 13% to $1.1 billion. Butter rose $61 million, or 29%,and milk powder rose $57 million, or 12%.

"We exported more butter for a higher price this month than October last year," international statistics manager Jason Attewell said. "We also exported more milk powder, but prices were similar."

Meat and edible offal exports, New Zealand's second-largest export commodity group, fell 18% from October 2015.

Beef and lamb exports to the key market of China were down, it added.

Write to James Glynn at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 24, 2016 17:12 ET (22:12 GMT)

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