By James Glynn

WELLINGTON--New Zealand's overseas merchandise trade deficit was wider than expected in November, coming in at $705 million New Zealand dollars compared with an expected deficit of $500 million.

The value of exports totaled NZ$3.86 billion, compared with the value of imports at NZ$4.56 billion, the New Zealand statistician said.

For the 12 months to November, the deficit was also wider than expected at NZ$3.175 billion, compared with a NZ$2.95 billion shortfall forecast by economists.

Beef and lamb exports fell in November, as the amount of meat sold dropped heavily compared with last year's record season, it added.

Meat and edible offal exports fell $158 million, or 31% from November 2015. Beef exports fell 41% in value and 31% in quantity, and lamb exports fell 27% in value and 23% in quantity, the statistician said.

"Beef exports to the United States, our top beef export destination, fell by around half when compared to November last year," senior manager Jason Attewell said.

"When compared to the same month of the previous year, the value of beef exports to the U.S. have fallen in nearly every month since October 2015, only rising once in April 2016," he added.

-Write to James Glynn at james.glynn@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 20, 2016 17:14 ET (22:14 GMT)

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