Fourth consecutive monthly trade surplus

Media release

3 July 2013

Australia has posted its fourth consecutive trade surplus in May, with a further strong performance in exports of resources, particularly to Asia.

Data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Australia recorded a seasonally-adjusted trade surplus of $670 million in May, an increase of $499 million on the revised $171 million surplus in April.

The value of exports rose by 3.6 per cent, or $914 million, month-on-month, to $26.4 billion. Imports rose 1.6 per cent, or $414 million, to $25.8 billion.  

Resources exports rose by just over 5 per cent, or $635 million, to $13.1 billion. This was driven by increases in metal ores and minerals, up $253 million; other mineral fuels, up $248 million; and coal, coke and briquettes, which rose $134 million.

In original terms, the value of iron ore shipments was up 3 per cent, or $198 million, for the month, while crude petroleum rose 30 per cent, or $186 million. Both increases were due mainly to improved volumes.

Demand from Asia again drove the improvement, with goods exports to North Asia up 9.5 per cent in May, to $14.7 billion. From this, exports to China climbed nearly 10 per cent to $8.1 billion, and to Japan by 14.2 per cent to $4.1 billion. Exports to Korea surged 12 per cent to $1.7 billion.

Trade Minister Richard Marles welcomed the May data, saying they again reflected the resilience of the Australian economy and the importance of its engagement with Asia.

“Australian exporters are among the most efficient in the world,” Mr Marles said.

“The continued recovery in the trade balance shows again just how important they are to Australia’s prosperity in this challenging global economy.”

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