Australia reports fifth consecutive deficit for May but exports on the rise
Australia has recorded a $285 million trade deficit for the month of May but the figures have come in slightly better than forecasted with exports on the rise.
The data, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, revealed it was the fifth consecutive monthly deficit this year.
The May deficit was $259 million higher than the figure for April, which was revised down from $203 million to $26 million — and came from a two percent month on month increase in exports, to $26.8 billion, and a three percent increase in imports, to $27.1 billion.
Merchandise trade was on the increase however, with Australia’s total merchandise trade with East Asia rising 10 percent, to $26.8 billion, in May.
Exports to China increased 14 percent, driven by a 17 percent rise in exports of iron ore fines and exports to India rose 17 percent to $1 billion.
Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson said the results again showed the importance of Australia’s ongoing close engagement with the Asian region amid continued economic weakness in other parts of the world.
“Australia remains focused on building on and diversifying its trade relationships with the emerging economies of Asia,” Emerson said.
“Trade was a big theme during [last] week’s visit to Darwin by the Indonesian President, and this Government will continue to build ever-closer trade and investment ties with our Asian neighbours,” he added.
Exports of manufactures rose nine percent to $3.8 billion in May and medicinal and pharmaceutical exports were up 29 percent, or $103 million, to a record $462 million. Similarly, there was a three percent increase, to $6.1 billion, in capital goods imports, reflecting ongoing investment in Australia’s productive capacity.