AUSTRALIA’S TRADE SURPLUS HITS 30-MONTH HIGH IN JANUARY
Australia recorded a large A$1.4 billion trade surplus in January 2014 in seasonally adjusted terms, the largest since August 2011, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australia has now been in a trade surplus for three consecutive months since November 2013. January’s impressive outcome was driven by a 3.7 per cent increase in exports, while imports rose by only one per cent. Exports increased to A$29.8 billion, with growth in all sectors except services, which fell 1.3 per cent to A$4.6 billion. Major export growth came from a 4.9 per cent increase to A$3.8 billion in rural goods sales. Meanwhile, non-rural exports are continuing to rise – 2.8 per cent to A$19.9 billion, with 3.4 per cent increase in mining exports to A$15.2 billion. Resources exports were driven by a 3.3 per cent rise in metal ores and minerals, a 1.6 per cent increase in coal sales and a 6.5 per cent increase in ‘other’ mineral fuels. Imports increased marginally to A$28.3 billion. Intermediate and other merchandise goods rose 7.8 per cent to A$10.4 billion and consumption goods rose 0.7 per cent to A$7 billion. These increases were partly offset by the fall in capital goods imports to A$5.1 billion, a 9.4 per cent reduction. On a seven-month cumulative basis (ending in January), Australia’s goods exports to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum countries rose 17 per cent to A$135 billion over the same period a year ago, largely driven by a massive 45 per cent growth in good exports to China valued at A$60.3 billion. Other major merchandise export markets have also experienced strong growth – a four per cent increase in exports to Japan valued at A$28.7 billion, five per cent rise in exports to South Korea at A$11.9 billion and a seven per cent growth in exports to the US to A$5.6 billion.