Australia's trade surplus has risen by $746 million to $2.5 billion, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today. Acting Minister for Trade Martin Ferguson says the figures, representing March, show the second highest surplus on record and continues a run of surpluses as the eighth consecutive positive figure. "It is particularly pleasing to see Australian exports continue to hold up well in the face of the rapid deterioration in the global economy," said Ferguson. "The international trade environment continues to weaken with the IMF forecasting global trade volumes will fall 11 percent this year." Exports to Europe and the United States fell, but exports to the ASEAN region grew by 28.3 percent and trade to China continued to grow strongly at 23.3 percent. Modest gains occurred in export to Japan and Korea, at 2.8 percent and 4.4 percent respectively. Contributing to the surplus was a fall in imports, which was down $730 million.