Shipments of non-farm goods jumped 18.4 percent from March to A$14.8 billion ($12.5 billion), the biggest increase since May 1982, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney today. The trade balance unexpectedly swung to a surplus of A$134 million from a revised deficit of A$2.04 billion.
Australia’s mineral wealth and proximity to China are stoking an economic expansion that is forecast by the central bank to almost double in the next two years. That may prompt Governor Glenn Stevens to resume the Group of 20’s most aggressive round of interest-rate increases later this year after pausing this week.
Exports including farm goods gained 11 percent to A$22.7 billion, today’s report showed. Metal ores including iron ore rose 25 percent and coal shipments surged 40 percent. Imports were unchanged in April at A$22.5 billion.
Increasing demand from Asia is fueling an investment boom in Australia’s resources industries that is forecast by the central bank to last more than a decade.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s government is seeking to benefit from the boom by introducing a 40 percent tax on resource profits, triggering a backlash from miners including Rio Tinto Group who are threatening to cancel new projects.