Australia Trade Surplus Narrows More Than Estimated


Australia's trade surplus narrowed 15 percent to AUD 3.11 billion in March of 2017 from an upwardly revised AUD 3.66 billion in February. The figure came in below market expectations of AUD 3.40 billion as exports rose less than imports.

Compared to the prior month, sales of goods and services increased by 2 percent to AUD 33.34 billion.

Rural goods rose 7 percent to AUD 4.14 billion, mainly due to a 10 percent increase of sugar, sugar preparations and honey and a 23 percent rise of wool and sheepskins.

Exports of non-rural goods (bulk commodities and non-bulk commodities) were little changed at AUD 21.0 billion, due to a 4 percent rise in metal ores and minerals and a 9 percent of other manufactures. Partly offsetting these rises were coal, coke and briquettes (-6 percent) and other non-rural, including sugar and beverages (-16 percent).

Non-monetary gold (gold which is not owned by monetary authorities and can be in the form of bullion, including coins, ingots or bar with a purity at least 995 parts per thousand) jumped 32 percent to AUD 1.85 billion.

Exports of services went up AUD 45 million ( 1 percent) to AUD 6.25 billion. The main component contributing to the rise was travel (1 percent).  

Imports of goods and services in March jumped 5 percent to AUD 30.23 billion. Consumption goods rose the most by 10 percent to AUD 8.46 billion, followed by intermediate and other merchandise goods (8 percent, driven by a 22 percent rise in fuel and lubricants and a 15 percent rise in parts for transport equipments). Also, non-monetary gold rose 14 percent. In contrast, capital goods fell 4 percent, due to civil aircraft and confidentialised items (-43 percent) and telecommunications equipment (-7 percent).

Purchases of non-monetary gold rose AUD 68 million (14 percent) to AUD 568 million.

Imports of services rose AUD 6 million to AUD 6.2 billion. The main components contributing to the rise in seasonally adjusted estimates were: other services (1 percent) and transport (1 percent). Partly offsetting these rises was travel (-1 percent). 

Considering January to March 2017, trade surplus was recorded at AUD 8.98 billion, an increase of 49 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com
5/4/2017 10:12:56 AM