Economy

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Record exports saw Australia have a much larger than expected trade surplus for the third month in a row. Australia recorded a trade surplus of more than AUD 1 billion for March, in seasonally adjusted terms a surplus of AUD1.527 billion Australian dollars.

Australia Trade Balance

Economists had expected around AUD 950 million.  What was pleasing for Australia the big lift was broad-based rises across all major categories. The surplus for the whole March quarter amounted to A$4 billion, an even greater turnaround when you consider  the previous December quarter’s A$1 billion deficit.

Exports rose 1 per cent to a record $34.8 billion, while imports were also up 1 per cent to $33.3 billion. A 44 per cent or $226 million rise in the value of wheat shipments was the biggest contributor to the export surge.The report show the export upswing has resumed, led by LNG as new capacity comes on stream and services will continue to expand. Education and tourism are soaring, particularly seeing strong demand from the Asian region. The recent fall in the Australian dollar is also spurring demand.

Highlights

  • $A 226 million rise  in cereal grain exports
  • $A 131 million rise in non-monetary gold sales
  • $A 78 million rise in LNG 

Along with the sharp rise in exports, Australia's import totals also rose 1.0 percent overall from greater fuel imports repriced the recent run up in global oil prices. 

Iron ore exports were generally firmer across all grades, driven by higher volumes, while prices were fairly flat. Hard coking coal exports rose 16 per cent thanks to an 11 per cent increase in volume and 5 per cent rise in prices. The liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector continued to support export growth, up 3 per cent or $78 million on the back of higher prices offsetting flat volumes. Shipments of  LNG have been on a tear and helped lift exports in the March quarter almost 8 percent above the previous quarter

Analysts estimated that could have added around half a percentage point to gross domestic product growth in the quarter, reversing a big drag from the December quarter. Analysts now suspect GDP growth may have doubled in the March quarter to around 0.8-1.0 percent. 

Source: ABS, ABC

From a sunburnt country

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