Australia’s trade surplus rose four per cent to $1.6 billion in August, despite falling revenue from mining and metal exports, with a jump in fuel, gold, meat and wool exports contributing to the overall rise.
In seasonally adjusted terms from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the balance on goods and services increased $56m on July’s surplus of $1.55 billion, with total exports rising by one per cent, or $185m, helped by strong commodity prices and a weaker Australian dollar.
Westpac senior analyst Andrew Hanlan said export earnings were more resilient than expected, while a 0.4 per cent jump in imports was also in line with forecasts.
Meanwhile, JP Morgan senior economist Ben Jarman said exports had performed well this year amid slowing industrial activity in China, noting LNG exports were up 72 per cent on a year ago, buoyed by both the 45 per cent rally in oil, and the ongoing supply expansion in the sector.
“Bulk commodity prices have stayed firm, particularly in local currency terms, consolidating a 25 per cent rally in the terms of trade since 2016, and the remaining LNG supply uplift should help provide a tailwind,” he said in a note.
August fuel exports rose $166m, or 4 per cent, to $4.5bn.
The value of rural goods exported was up $134m, or three per cent, to $4.2bn, despite a drop in revenue from grains and cereals, while gold exports rose 13 per cent, or $228m, to $2.02bn.
Metal ores and minerals exports were down $239m, or three per cent, while coal, coke and briquettes were down $89m, or two per cent.
Other non-rural exports, including sugar and beverages, rose 23 per cent to $151m.
Overall imports rose by $130 million to $34.96bn for the month, including a 73 per cent, or $138m, rise in primary industrial supplies.