Australia's trade surplus falls below expectations

Australia's trade surplus falls below expectations article image

Australia's trade surplus narrowed to $1.93 billion in November, with both exports and imports hitting all-time highs.

Bureau of Statistics figures show Australia exported about $1.9 billion more than it imported in November, down from a $2 billion surplus in October and $2.8 billion in September.

Economists were typically expecting a trade surplus of $2.2 billion, only marginally down on the previous month's original result of $2.3 billion.

However, exports increased by 1 percent in November from a month earlier to an all-time high of $38.45 billion.

The export figures showed some signs of weakness, with a sharp 60 per cent increase in the very volatile "non-monetary gold" component, along with a 4 per cent rise in iron ore sales propping up a 1 per cent rise in exports.

Rise in services exports

The biggest drag was a 9 per cent slide in overseas sales of coal, coke and briquettes.

Services exports rose 1 per cent ($57 million) in both trend and seasonally adjusted terms, with travel a key component of the gains as a lower Australian dollar lures tourists.

In contrast, exports of rural goods fell 1 percent ($34 million) and exports of non-rural goods also declined 1 percent ($173 million) over the previous month.

Imports jumped 2 percent from a month earlier to a record $36.52 billion in November 2018, driven by a $433 million rise (almost 7 percent) in capital goods.

Consumption goods rose by $202 million (or 2 percent) after edging up 1 percent in the previous month, allaying fears of a household spending downturn.


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