Surging Coal And Mineral Exports Help Australia's Current Account Narrow

Coal trucks pass each other at BHP Billiton’s Mt Arthur coal mine Getty/Ian Waldie

The Australian trade data printed pretty much as expected this morning, with a Q4 2013 defeicit of $10.1 billion (only slightly bigger than the markets expectations of $10.0 billion).

The ABS said that this result would see net exports add 0.6% to Q4 GDP against the market expectation of 0.7%.

This data on its own is unlikely to move the market, even on an RBA day or with the big surge in building approvals.

But there is some interesting news in the break up of the data which suggests that CBA Chief Economist Michael Blythe’s expectation that Australia might become a current account surplus country on the back of mining exports might be correct.

Over the Quarter, metals, ores and minerals saw volumes rise 2% and prices surge 5% for a 7% gain.

Equally coal, coke and briquettes where up 8% on the month on a combination of a big jump in volumes that accompanied a 4% fall in prices.

That is a really solid rise and one that when coupled with the housing data, will please the RBA as it tries to transition the Australian away from the mining boom.

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