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Friday, October 23, 2020

Australia’s trade surplus up 2pc in May

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Australia’s trade surplus rose 2 per cent to $8.03 billion in May, as imports fell faster than exports.

Exports dropped 4 per cent to $35.7b, while imports dropped 6 per cent to $27.7b, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Thursday.

Imports of consumption goods was steeply lower, down 14 per cent to $8.9b.

Exports of rural goods fell 10 per cent to $3.6m, driven by a 31 per cent drop in cereal grains and cereal preparations.

Coal export earnings dropped by 13.3 per cent, or $635m.

“Australia’s international trade surplus has — on balance — been boosted by the net impacts of the pandemic,” Westpac economist Andrew Hanlan said in a note.

“Imports are trending lower as domestic demand contracts. Goods exports, while not immune from the global recession, have been more resilient.”

Economists had been expecting a $9b trade surplus, Mr Hanlan said, but the reason for the surprise was that ABS revised down the April result by $1b.

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