Australia's trade deficit continues to narrow

Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Australia’s trade deficit narrowed sharply in August, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) earlier today.

At $2.01 billion, the deficit was smaller than the median economist forecast for $2.3 billion. It was also smaller than the $2.121 billion deficit of July, previously reported by the ABS at $2.41 billion.

It was also the smallest deficit reported since April.

Exports of goods and services totaled $26.856 billion, largely unchanged from the revised figure for July.

After seasonal adjustments, the value of non-rural goods rose by $406 million to $15.289 billion while those for rural goods rose by $36 million to $3.481 billion.

The jump in non-rural goods, the largest component of exports by dollar value, was boosted by increases of $363 million and $145 million for exports of metal ores and minerals and other mineral fuels.

Despite some unbelievable price surges in recent months, the value of coal, coke and briquettes, Australia’s other major commodity export, fell by $41 million to $2.805 billion. It will be interesting to see whether this figure is revised in the months ahead.

After surging in July, the value of non-monetary gold exports fell by 22% to $1.865 billion.

Elsewhere, net exports of goods under merchanting remained steady at $47 million while services credits rose by $90 million to $6.174 billion.

On the other side of the ledger, the value of imports fell by $101 million to $28.866 billion.

The value of intermediate and other merchandise goods dipped by $295 million to $8.396 billion while those for consumption and capital goods fell by $170 million and $76 million to $7.95 billion and $5.148 billion respectively.

Non-monetary gold imports rose by $218 million to $742 million while services imports increased by $68 million to $6.63 billion.

Here’s what that all looks like in table form, courtesy of the ABS:

Despite the downward revision to July’s deficit and the better than expected result in August, Australian financial markets have barely budged following the release of the data.

It appears that many already have their eye on tomorrow night’s US non-farm payrolls report.

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