New Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows that in March 2015, Australia’s merchandise exports increased strongly to a number of our key trading partners compared to a year ago.
Exports to ASEAN were up 27 per cent to $2.9 billion. Exports to the United States rose 19.5 per cent to $1.2 billion, to New Zealand 12.9 per cent to $707 million and to India 44.7 per cent to $896 million.
Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said the government was focused on diversifying opportunities for Australian exporters in major markets.
“After concluding landmark Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Japan and China we are now working to conclude an agreement with India where there are strong prospects for growth across goods, services and investment,” Mr Robb said.
In the resources sector, the value of exports of coal, coke and briquettes increased by 15 per cent in March compared to the previous month. Compared to a year ago, coal, coke and briquettes increased 11 per cent.
The increase partially offset falls in the value of other resources exports, which pushed resources exports down overall, by 3.1 per cent in March, compared to the previous month. The contraction was driven by a 28 per cent fall in other mineral fuels. Low oil and gas prices were a major factor.
In volume terms, exports of key commodities recovered in March compared to the previous month. Hard coking coal exports grew 33 per cent, semi soft coal exports grew 25 per cent, thermal coal exports grew 9 per cent, iron ore lump grew 17 per cent and iron ore fines grew 2 per cent.
"The unprecedented investment in the resources sector that we have seen in recent years has supported increased production volumes, but we are in challenging times with lower commodity prices,” Mr Robb said.
In the rural sector, Australia’s exports of meat and processed meat grew by 5 per cent in March 2015, compared to the previous month. Compared to a year ago, these exports have surged to be 33 per cent higher.
The value of total rural exports fell 2 per cent in March compared to a month earlier, driven by other rural goods which fell by 8 per cent in March.
Transport equipment exports grew 4 per cent in March, compared to a month earlier, partially offsetting falls in other manufacturing categories. Overall, the value of manufactures exports fell 3 per cent in March compared to a month earlier.
The value of services exports grew by 0.8 per cent in March compared to the previous month, they were 10 per cent higher compared to a year ago. This was driven by travel services which grew 1.2 per cent in March.
Overall, Australian goods and services exports fell by 1.5 per cent to $27.1 billion in March 2015 compared to a month earlier. Imports fell by 2.4 per cent to $28.6 billion.
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