Australia's trade surplus increased strongly in January, rising 142 per cent to $1.4 billion from $591 million in December 2013, data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.
This is the largest trade surplus since the $2.1 billion recorded in August 2011. This comes on top of the strong contribution of net exports (0.6 percentage points) to economic growth in the December 2013 quarter.
Exports rose 3.7 per cent to $29.8 billion, with increases recorded across all sectors except for services, which fell 1.3 per cent to $4.6 billion.
Resources exports rose 3.4 per cent to $15.2 billion, with metal ores and minerals rising by 3.3 per cent to $9.0 billion, other mineral fuels 6.5 per cent to $2.7 billion and coal, coke and briquettes exports 1.6 per cent to $3.5 billion.
Rural goods rose 5.0 per cent to $3.8 billion, largely driven by higher other rural goods and meat and meat preparations exports. Manufactures rose 0.2 per cent to $3.6 billion and non-monetary gold rose 44 per cent to $1.4 billion.
Imports increased 0.8 per cent to $28.3 billion. Intermediate and other merchandise goods rose 7.8 per cent to $10.4 billion and consumption goods rose 0.7 per cent to $7.0 billion. These rises were partly offset by the 9.4 per cent fall in capital goods imports, to $5.1 billion.
Australia's goods exports to East Asia rose 30 per cent from a year ago to $17.4 billion in January, driven by a 38.2 per cent rise in exports to China to $8.4 billion and a 16 per cent rise to Japan to $4.0 billion. Exports to ASEAN-10 increased by 42 per cent to $2.5 billion.
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