Australia’s July Trade Deficit Widens

Australia’s trade deficit widened in July as exports fell and imports of oil and consumer goods rose.

The shortfall swelled to A$1.56 billion ($1.3 billion) from a revised A$538 million in June, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney.

Exports fell 1 percent to A$20.04 billion in July, today’s report showed. Farm shipments dropped 4 percent and tourism earnings declined 1 percent.

Imports rose 4 percent to A$21.6 billion. Oil imports jumped 21 percent and consumer goods gained 2 percent.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, reported last month a 65 percent decline in second-half profit after metals prices and demand plunged during the global recession.

Chief Executive Officer Marius Kloppers said on Aug. 20 that global demand for metals won’t rise beyond what is required to rebuild stockpiles for the remainder of this year.

To stoke domestic demand, the government has distributed more than A$20 billion in cash to households since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. almost a year ago, and is spending another A$22 billion upgrading schools, railways, roads and ports.

Australia’s economic growth unexpectedly accelerated in the second quarter at the fastest pace in more than a year, expanding 0.6 percent from the previous quarter when it gained 0.4 percent.

Australia’s July Trade Deficit Widens, Bloomberg
9/2/2009 10:34:02 PM