Australia’s trade deficit narrowed in March, but by less than expected

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Australia’s trade deficit narrowed slightly in March with the ABS reporting a decrease to $A1.322 billion in seasonally-adjusted terms.

The figure missed expectations for a decline to $1 billion but was smaller than the revised $A1.609 billion deficit of February.

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Exports fell by $A415 million to $A27.217 billion, a decrease of 2%. Declines in exports of non-rural goods and rural goods overshadowed a 1% increase in services.

Of Australia’s key commodity exports iron ore and concentrates fell to $A4.91 billion, down 1.3% from February, while coal exports surged 21.7% to $A3.687 billion. Natural gas – the last of Australia’s three-largest merchandise exports – fell by 11.7% to $A1.362 billion.

Mirroring the decline in exports imports slipped by $A702 million, or 2%, to $28,539 billion. Declining imports of intermediate goods, capital goods and consumption were partially offset by a 2% rise in services.