Australia’s trade deficit narrowed to $2.937 billion in January in seasonally adjusted terms, coming in below the $3.524 billion figure of December and expectations for a decline to $3.1 billion.
According to the ABS, exports rose by 1.0%, or $266 million, to $25.549 billion. Non-rural goods exports increased by $184 million, offsetting declines of $39 million and $2 million for rural goods and services. Non-monetary gold exports – often volatile – rose by $126 million, partially explaining the headline deficit beat.
Non-rural goods, the largest component of Australia’s total exports, rose on the back of a $226 million increase in “other manufactures” along with a $141 million jump in coal, coke and briquettes exports. These gains were partially offset by weakness in metals ($158 million) and metal ores and minerals ($97 million), predominantly iron ore.
On the other side of the ledger, imports fell by 1.0%, or $320 million, to $28.487 million. Intermediate and other merchandise goods imports fell by $92 million, capital goods by $83 million, consumption goods $81 million and non-monetary gold by $37 million. Services Like all of the goods categories, services also declined by $28 million.