CHART: Australia may report its largest trade surplus on record today

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Australia’s trade report for December will be released later in the session, and there’s a reasonable chance that a new record surplus may be reported.

After coming in at $1.243 billion in November, snapping a 31-month run of trade deficits in the process, economists expect the trade surplus will swell to $2.2 billion in December.

If correct, it will be the highest surplus reported since February 2009 when it printed at $2.236 billion, the current record high.

So what’s expected isn’t far away from the current record, so there’s a chance it could go today.

“There are good reasons to expect a bumper outcome given soaring iron ore and coal loading at key ports in December, along with the recent moves in commodity prices,” said Tapas Strickland, economist at the National Australia Bank.

“With coking coal prices remaining at high levels, it is likely Australia will continue to record trade surpluses for at least the first half of 2017.”

Strickland is forecasting a bumper trade surplus of $3 billion in December.

The ABS will release the report at 11.30am AEDT.

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