Australian May trade data falls short of expectations

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Australian trade data, having logged the largest trade deficit on record in April, has continued to disappoint in May.

For the month the nation recorded a trade deficit of $2.751 billion, below the median market forecast figure of $2.2 billion. While smaller than the 4.136 billion deficit of April, the highest on record, the May figure was still the second largest deficit recorded since November 2012.

From a month earlier exports increased by $206 million to $25.528 billion. According to the ABS non-rural goods rose $313 million (2%) and rural goods rose $164 million (4%). Non-monetary gold fell $286 million (26%). Net exports of goods under merchanting remained steady at $32 million. Services credits rose $16 million.

Exports of non-rural goods, the largest component of total exports, rose by $313 million, or 2%, to $15.332 billion. The ABS reports exports of metal ores and minerals increased by $319 million reflecting higher iron ore prices. Elsewhere exports of coal, coke and briquettes jumped $268 million on the back of higher volumes following weather disruptions in April. Offsetting those gains mineral fuel exports slid by 318 million, or 17%, due to production disruptions during the month.

Completely offsetting the 4% increase seen in April, imports fell by $1.179 billion to $28.279 billion. Imports of capital goods fell $1.065 billion, completely reversing the sharp spike seen previously, while those for intermediate and merchandise goods, along with consumption goods, slipped by $113 million and $28 million respectively. Services imports fell by $612 million, or 1%.

The full breakdown of the ABS release, in seasonally adjusted terms, can be found below.

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