Australia’s strong trade performance continues

Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

12 December 2011

Australia continues its strong trade performance, recording a $1.6 billion surplus for the month of October. This is the eighteenth consecutive monthly trade surplus for Australia, barring a small trade deficit in February due to the Queensland floods – a performance that is unprecedented since 1972-73.

The October surplus, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in its Monthly Trade in Goods and Services series, was below last month’s trade surplus, with exports down 0.2 per cent and imports up 2 per cent.

This remains a strong trade result in the face of a stronger Australian dollar and uncertain global economic conditions.

Australia’s Asian trading partners continue to increase demand for our goods and services, with exports to North Asia up 3 per cent last month. This includes a 9 per cent increase in exports to Japan. Exports to China also continued to grow.

Services and rural agricultural exports, which together contribute over $7 billion to the Australian economy, also rose during October.

Volumes of iron ore shipments were up offsetting lower prices, with export values remaining stable. Exports of manufactured goods fell over the month.

Fluctuations in the trade in gold for processing in Australia contributed to a lower trade surplus this month.

Graph: Australia's trade balance to October 2011