Statistics New Zealand released its trade data on late Thursday evening. New Zealand's trade deficit turned into a surplus of NZ$8 million in January from a deficit of NZ$38 million in December. December's figure was revised up from a deficit of NZ$53 million.
Analysts had expected the deficit to decline to NZ$246 million.
Exports climbed 5.9% year-on-year in January, driven by milk powder, butter and cheese, while imports increased by 7.2%, driven by a rise in intermediate goods.
"The fall in the value of crude oil imports is a result of New Zealand importing slightly less crude oil than in January 2015, but at a much lower price," Statistics NZ international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said.