Australia registered a record $4.8 billion monthly trade surplus for February, new ABS data shows.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the result highlights the ongoing strength and international competitiveness of Australia’s export sector.
The record $4.6 billion surplus was up from the $4.4 billion surplus the previous month. The previous largest surplus was in December 2016 valued at $4.6 billion.
China remained Australia's largest merchandise market in the year to February ($121 billion), followed by Japan ($57 billion) and Korea ($23.9 billion).
Also, strong export sales growth has been secured from the United States, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Canada and Italy in the 12 months to date.
Senator Birmingham said this new monthly trade data reinforced the need for the quick ratification of the recently signed trade agreements with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru.
Improved access to global markets
“The Government’s commitment to free trade and open markets continues to play a major role in our strong position which has seen Australia record its fourteenth monthly trade surplus in a row,” he said.
“Improved access to global markets for Australian goods and services has been a key factor in the record export performance our government has delivered.”
Senator Birmingham said the three new trade agreements are ready for implementation in the next parliament, giving exporters access to over 300 million new customers.
“Yet the Labor Party won’t give a straight answer on whether they’ll support them in their current form,” he said.
“Our farmers and businesses will see significant gains from our agreements with Indonesia, Peru and Hong Kong.
“By risking our competitive position and not backing in these agreements, Bill Shorten and the Labor party are putting at risk the future strength of our economy and jeopardising thousands of jobs.”