Despite a challenging year, Australia's exports increased 14 per cent to a new record of $284.1 billion in 2010. The surge was led by metal ores and minerals, up 50 per cent to $69 billion, and coal, which climbed 9 per cent to $43.1 billion.
Australia's trade performance for 2010 ended strongly, with a seasonally-adjusted surplus of $2 billion in December, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The figure beat market expectations by almost $400 million.
Trade Minister Dr Craig Emerson welcomed Australia's 9th consecutive monthly trade surplus, marking the longest run of monthly trade surpluses since the early 1970s. The annual total reversed a trade deficit of $4.1 billion in 2009; the surplus for 2010 was $16.6 billion, a turnaround in our trade performance of $20.6 billion.
In December, exports of goods and services increased slightly to $24.6 billion, while imports grew by 1 per cent to $22.6 billion. Merchandise exports increased 1 per cent to $20.2 billion, while service exports declined 1 per cent to $4.4 billion. This reflected a fall in travel services, caused by the stronger Australian dollar.
Our manufacturing exports recorded impressive growth of 11 per cent to $3.6 billion, driven by a 15 per cent increase in machinery exports and 11 per cent growth in other manufactures, mainly medicaments and pharmaceuticals. Australia's manufacturing exports performed well in 2010, increasing by 4 per cent to $40.4 billion, despite a strong dollar.
Dr Emerson cautioned that Australia's trade performance could be adversely affected over the forthcoming quarter by the extreme weather conditions around the country, particularly in Queensland.
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