Surplus Widened, Soft Goods Imports In Line With Slowing Demand
The trade surplus widened more than expected in August to $9.64bn from a downwardly-revised $7.32bn. The move was driven by strong export growth of 4% m/m while imports fell 0.4%. The trade surplus remains elevated but has been trending lower over Q2 and Q3 with exports now down 2% y/y. Strong commodity exports have helped to boost federal government revenues.
Australia trade balance $mn
Source: MNI - Market News/Refinitiv
- Both goods and services exports were robust rising 4.5% m/m and 1.5% m/m respectively. The strength in merchandise is deceptive as it was driven by a 96.7% increase in non-monetary gold, rural fell 2.6% and non-rural rose only 0.5% with weakness in coal shipments weighing on the total. Tourism exports rose 2% m/m.
- Imports are now down 3.1% y/y and goods are -6.7% y/y, in line with softer domestic demand. While merchandise imports fell 1% m/m in August, services rose 1.6%. Consumer goods rose 1.7% m/m, due to a 3.4% rise in non-industrial transport, but are down 3.1% y/y. Capital goods fell 11.8% m/m with the weakness broad based but a 82.3% drop in the volatile aircraft component particularly weighed. Machinery & equipment fell 0.9%. Tourism imports rose 3.9%, outpacing exports.
- From the September trade release, the ABS will no longer publish monthly services statistics.
Source: MNI - Market News/ABS/Refinitiv