In March, exports increased by 1 percent month-on-month to AUD 34.84 billion. Sales of rural goods rose by 3 percent to AUD 3.96 billion, mainly due cereal grains and cereal preparations (34 percent). Also, sales of non-rural goods went up 1 percent to AUD 21.86 billion, mainly due to other manufactures (6 percent); machinery (8 percent) and other mineral fuels (2 percent), while those of non-monetary gold grew by 8 percent to AUD 1.83 billion. In addition, exports of services went up by 1 percent to AUD 7.20 billion, due to travel sales (1 percent). On the other hand, net exports of goods under merchanting fell by 14 percent to AUD 6 million.
Imports expanded by 1 percent to AUD 33.31 billion. Purchases of intermediate and other merchandise goods increased by 4 percent to AUD 10.36 billion, driven by fuels and lubricants (16 percent). Also, imports of non-monetary gold jumped by 48 percent to AUD 712 million. On the other hand, inbound shipments of consumption goods fell by 2 percent to AUD 8.72 billion, mostly due to non-industrial transport equipment (-5 percent); consumption goods n.e.s (-2 percent) and food and beverages, mainly for consumption (-3 percent). Also, imports of capital goods declined by 1 percent to AUD 6.13 billion, led by civil aircraft and confidentialised items (-35 percent) and machinery and industrial equipment (-4 percent). In addition, purchases of services dropped by 1 percent to AUD 7.40 billion, mainly due to travel purchases (-1 percent).
Considering the first three months of 2018, the trade surplus came in at AUD 4.04 billion, down sharply from AUD 7.09 billion surplus in the same period the prior year.