Australia recorded a $22.2 billion trade surplus in 2018 – the highest ever for a calendar year, according to new data.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports Australia’s two-way trade in goods and services hit a record high of $854 billion during that period.
“Australia continues to successfully navigate very challenging global trading conditions, having delivered 12 monthly trade surpluses in 2018, and 22 in the last 24 months,” said Trade Minister Simon Birmingham.
Last year was also the first calendar year in 46 years where every month was in surplus.
Increased resource exports including Metals ores and minerals ($94.9 billion) and Coal, coke and briquettes ($66.7 billion), along with rural goods such as Meat ($13.6 billion) and Cereals ($7.3 billion) helped contribute to Australia’s strong 2018 result.
Natural gas exports grew by 69.5 percent to become Australia’s third largest export.
Australia’s services industries also continue to enjoy strong growth with Services exports growing by 9.3 per cent to $92.9 billion in 2018.
China remained Australia's top trading partner, a position it has held since 2009. Two-way merchandise trade with China was valued at $192.1 billion, or 29 per cent of our total merchandise trade. Increases in merchandise exports were recorded with nearly all our key trading partners.
Trade plays critical role in economic success
Senator Birmingham said trade continued to play a critical role in Australia’s continued economic success having contributed over one-quarter of Australia’s economic growth over the past five years.
“Australian farmers and businesses exporters should be congratulated for these strong results illustrating the unabated and competitive edge our exporters have on the world-stage,” he said.
“Australia now routinely records monthly trade surpluses, and we want to make sure that we keep that trend going in 2019.”
Senator Birmingham said the government would continue to pursue a trade agenda that opens new markets for Australian exporters across a wide range of industries.
“This helps to build a stronger economy and create more Australian jobs,” he said.
“Over the past five years under our government, total trade covered by free trade agreements has increased from 26 per cent to around 70 per cent, providing more opportunities for Australian exporters to sell their quality produce and goods to the world.
“This record is in stark contrast to Labor who failed to start and conclude a free trade agreement whilst they were in government.”