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.