Engagement with Asia helps trade balance back into surplus

Media release

7 May 2013

Australia recorded a seasonally-adjusted trade surplus of $307 million in March, as strong demand from Asia helped deliver the first positive balance since December 2011.

The March figure, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, represents a $418 million improvement on the revised $111 million deficit in February.

The ABS reported that total exports of goods and services for March were worth $25.7 billion, 0.6 per cent higher than the total in February. Imports fell 1.1 per cent to $25.4 billion.

Asia accounted for much of the rebound, with merchandise exports to China up 16.5 per cent on the previous month to $7.4 billion. The value of shipments to Japan, meanwhile, rose more than 13 per cent and to Korea, 20.5 per cent. Merchandise exports to the 10 ASEAN economies increased by 9 per cent.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson welcomed the return to surplus, saying it proved again the resilience of the Australian economy in the face of global weakness.

"Unlike much of the world, Australia's economy is resilient, though our future is not assured," Dr Emerson said.

"The continued expansion of Asia's middle class and the diversification of Australian exports, as set out in the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century, will help maintain job creation and economic growth."

The value of non-rural goods exports in March rose by 1.3 per cent, or $215 million, to $17.1 billion. Resources exports increased 2.1 per cent to $12.8 billion.

Rural goods exports were also up, by 0.9 per cent to $3.1 billion. Services exports increased 0.5 per cent to $4.4 billion.

Australia's trade balance

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