Australia’s trade deficit grew unexpectedly in August with the ABS reporting an increase to $3.095 billion.
The figure, higher than the upwardly-revised $2.792 billion deficit of July and expectations for a narrowing to $2.55 billion, was the largest trade deficit since June.
Over the month imports grew by 1% while exports remained unchanged.
According to the ABS goods and services credits, or exports, fell by $130 million to $26,509 million in seasonally adjusted terms. Non-monetary gold fell $316 million (19%). Rural goods rose $96 million (3%) and non-rural goods rose $77 million. Net exports of goods under merchanting remained steady at $36 million. Services credits rose $13 million.
Although an uninspiring outcome, the flat growth in exports was largely due to a sharp decline in highly-volatile non-monetary gold exports which fell by $316 billion, or 19%. Without that decrease, the results elsewhere were pleasing.
Partially explained by the falling Australian dollar, rural goods exports rose by a further $96 million to $3.784 billion while non-rural exports, Australia’s largest goods export in terms of dollar value, increased by a further $77 million to $15.975 billion.
The ABS notes that exports of coal, coke and briquettes, up $234 million, and other mineral fuels (largely LNG), some $176 million higher than July at $1.971 billion, were largely behind the headline increase.
Exports of metal ores and minerals, the largest individual source of Australia’s goods exports, fell by 1%, or $40 million, to $5.927 billion.
On the other side of the ledger goods and services debits, or imports, rose by $173 million (1%) to $29,604 million. Consumption goods rose $139 million (2%), intermediate and other merchandise goods rose $67 million (1%) and non-monetary gold rose $26 million (8%). Capital goods fell $30 million (1%). Services debits fell $29 million.