WELLINGTON， March 15 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's current account deficit narrowed in the quarter ending December 2016， as income earned from foreign visitors and overseas investments rose， the government statistics agency said Wednesday.
The current account deficit fell to 1.6 billion NZ dollars (1.11 billion U.S. dollars) in the December quarter， its lowest since March 2014 and down by 420 million NZ dollars (291.02 million U.S. dollars) from the previous quarter， according to Statistics New Zealand.
"New Zealand earned 2 billion NZ dollars (1.38 billion U.S. dollars) from investment overseas， 129 million NZ dollars (89.38 million U.S. dollars) more than in the September quarter，" international statistics senior manager Daria Kwon said in a statement.
"A large portion of this extra income was reinvested back into the overseas subsidiaries， instead of being paid out as dividends."
The deficit in primary income， which comes mainly from investments， fell by 140 million NZ dollars (97 million U.S. dollars) to 2 billion NZ dollars (1.38 billion U.S. dollars) in the December quarter.
At the end of 2016， New Zealand had 240.6 billion NZ dollars (166.71 billion U.S. dollars) of investment abroad， while foreign investments in New Zealand were valued at 397.1 billion NZ dollars (275.15 billion U.S. dollars).
New Zealand earned more from exports of services than it spent on imports of services in the December quarter.
This meant the services surplus rose by 174 million NZ dollars (120.56 million U.S. dollars) in the December quarter to 1.2 billion NZ dollars (831.48 million U.S. dollars).
The increase for services exports in the latest quarter was influenced by higher spending by international visitors to New Zealand.
"The number of tourists to New Zealand increased in the December quarter， as did the average amount each tourist spent，" Kwon said.
The goods deficit was up 130 million NZ dollars (90.07 million U.S. dollars) in the December quarter to 833 million NZ dollars (577.18 million U.S. dollars) -- the largest deficit since the September 2008 quarter -- driven by spending on importing cars and parts.
New Zealand's annual current account last year deficit was 7.1 billion NZ dollars (4.92 billion U.S. dollars)， or 2.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)， down from 8.3 billion NZ dollars (5.75 billion U.S. dollars)， or 3.4 percent of GDP for 2015.
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Gwyneth Parryblogs about Mis-sold-ppi and other financial products for UK based business www.PPI refundsUK.co. She also tweets about unfair credit card charges and the financial claims niche generally, in addition to writing posts on personal finance, house sales, repossession and business finance
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