Australia’s exports continue to boom, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics announcing a record high in April of $36-billion. Adding lustre to the export total was a significant decline in imports, which went down by 7 percent.
This means that exports remained fairly steady and increased by $12.6-million in April, versus the March total. But imports spiralled downward, reducing by $1.9-billion over the March figure.
The April merchandise goods trade surplus of $10.1-billion is the third highest on record, the ABS said in a statement.
Demand for Aussie ore again a big contributor
Continued global demand for Australia’s metalliferous ores was again a strong contributor to the export total.
“Following strong exports in March 2021, metalliferous ores increased another 1 percent in April 2021 to record a historic high of $16.5 billion,” said the ABS Head of International Statistics, Andrew Tomadini.
The April trade result will not be captured in the March quarter national accounts. ANZ bank’s Head of Australian Economics, David Plank, told the Australian Financial Review that gross domestic product was expected to be softer in the March quarter than over the previous two quarters, which recorded big rises after pandemic restrictions eased.
“If we do get a figure some way above 1 percent, subject to revisions, then we will be able to say GDP has recovered to pre-Covid levels. That’s certainly our expectation,” he told the publication.
India gives a big boost to thermal coal exports
The increase in coal exports was driven by thermal coal, up $203-million, with an increase of $116-million to India. Australian coal exports to India have been steadily rising since mid-2020, following a substantial reduction in Chinese demand for Australian coal, partly due to the ongoing political and trade disagreements between the two nations.
The decline in imports was led by non-monetary gold, down $455-million or 46 per cent, reversing most of the increase seen in March 2021. Other drivers included electrical machinery and articles of apparel.
“Australia’s international goods trade surplus swelled to $10-billion in April, extending a stunning run for exports over recent months that will boost economic growth figures due next week,” the Australian Financial Review commented.