(Amended: Corrects trade deficit to current account deficit in the story headline and first paragraph. This is the corrected version.)

New Zealand posted a current account deficit of NZ$16.1 billion for the full year ending in December 2008, according to data released Thursday by Statistics NZ.

The deficit amounted to 8.9 percent of GDP.

The agency said the deficit grew from NZ$15.5 billion for the year to September 2008, which represented 8.6 percent of GDP.

The deficit for the full year to December 2007 was NZ$14.4 billion or 8.2 percent of GDP.

Statistics NZ said rising values for imports of freight services and falling tourism were the primary factors in the higher deficit.

Goods exports increased, thanks to higher values of dairy products. Goods imports increased due to higher prices of petroleum and related products.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the current account deficit for the December 2008 quarter was NZ$3.77 billion, $236 million lower than the deficit for the September 2008 quarter.

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