Iron ore exports to China drive up trade surplus | Ralph Lauren

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Australia enjoyed its fourth-highest goods trade surplus on record in December, with exports jumping 16 per cent in the month.

Preliminary international trade figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday show Australia recorded a $9 billion goods trade surplus in December, up from $7.4b in November.

ABS head of international statistics Katie Hutt said the strong surplus was heavily influenced by trade with China.

While imports to Australia’s number one trading partner fell by $641 million, or 7 per cent, exports increased by $2.2b or 21 per cent.

Overall, the $4.9b increase in total exports recorded for the month was largely driven by metalliferous ore shipments.

Just more than 80 per cent of this was in iron ore exports, which was up $2.2b or 21 per cent.

Hard coking coal exports rose 38 per cent in December. While exports to China have diminished since mid-2020, increased exports to India, Japan and South Korea have offset some of the fall.

Meanwhile, total imports declined $2.5b in the month, or 9 per cent, though vehicle imports continued a rising trend seen in the second half of 2020.

“We continue to see a rise in road-vehicle imports with December recording the highest monthly value, surpassing the previous record set in June 2018,” Ms Hutt said.

The final trade figures for the month, which will also include services trade, will be released on February 4.


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