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MNI (London)
By Lachlan Colquhoun
     SYDNEY (MNI) - The Australian Bureau of Statistics published the February
Trade Balance data Wednesday. Here are five factors of interest in today's
release.
The export boom continues. 
February's trade balance vaulted to a record A$4.8 billion on the back of strong
iron ore exports, a 10% increase y/y. The surprise result came after a surplus
of A$4.5 billion in January, which was revised down to A$4.35 billion. The
previous highest balance was the A$4.7 billion surplus posted in December 2016.
Iron Ore up. 
The export result was dominated by a A$958 million increase in exports of metal
ores and minerals, a category dominated by iron ore. Prices remain at recent
highs due to ongoing disruption from the Brazilian mine disaster in January.
Coal down. 
The surge for iron ore was offset by a A$760 million drop in coal exports, as
processing delays at Chinese ports continued to drag.
Services strong. 
Exports from the service sector increased 2% to A$136 million, helping offset
falls in exports of gold and rural goods.
Imports steady. 
The trade balance is being driven by an export boom, and not by any major slide
in exports. February imports were only 1% lower at A$35 billion.
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: MALDS$,M$A$$$,M$L$$$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com