Australia’s Trade Deficit Narrows

Australia’s trade deficit narrowed in August as a decline in imports of oil and consumer goods outpaced a drop in exports including coal.

The shortfall narrowed to A$1.52 billion ($1.33 billion) from a revised A$1.78 billion in July, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney.

Central bank Governor Glenn Stevens unexpectedly raised the benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 3.25 percent from a 49-year low in Sydney today to damp domestic growth in an economy that grew in the second quarter at the fastest pace in more than a year. Export income will fall about 20 percent this year from a 2008 peak, Stevens said in August.

Exports fell 2 percent to A$19.3 billion in August, today’s report showed. Farm shipments dropped 3 percent and coal slipped 8 percent.

China’s imports fell 17 percent in August, the biggest drop in three months and more than the 10.5 percent decline forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg survey, a report showed last month.

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

Imports declined 3 percent to A$20.8 billion. Consumer goods imports dropped 6 percent and imports of oil plunged 24 percent.

Australia’s Trade Deficit Narrows, Bloomberg
10/6/2009 9:25:58 AM