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Trade Makes Good Start To 2024


Australia’s trade picture remained robust at the start of 2024 after net exports contributed 0.6pp to Q4 growth but import picture still suggests lacklustre domestic demand. The January merchandise trade surplus widened by $284mn to $11 027mn, a bit less than expected. Exports outpaced imports rising 1.6% m/m versus 1.3% m/m respectively, but both are weak on the year falling 5.2% y/y and -5.3%.

  • The growth in goods exports was driven by non-monetary gold but rural goods also rose strongly due to meat and cereals. Non-rural goods fell 0.5% m/m and -9.1% y/y due to drops in coal and other mineral fuels but metal ores were stronger. Lower commodity prices are also weighing on the series.
  • Goods imports were driven by an increase in non-industrial vehicles (+17.2% m/m). After a couple of weak months consumer and capex goods imports rose strongly by 5.2% m/m and 5.9% respectively, but machinery & equipment fell 2.1% with industrial transport up 13.1%. Despite the January improvement, the 7% y/y and 9.2% y/y drops in both consumer and capex goods imports signal soft domestic demand.
Australia merchandise imports y/y% 3-month ma

Source: MNI - Market News/ABS

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