8 May 2013

Trade surplus recorded by Australia

8:14 am on 8 May 2013

Australia has recorded its first trade surplus since 2011, partly due to a fall in imports.

The Bureau of Statistics figures show the nation exported $307 million more in goods and services than it imported in March, seasonally adjusted.

The surplus was due to the combination of a 1% gain in exports to $A25.75 billion, while imports declined by 1% to $A25.44 billion.

The ABC reports the main factors contributing to export growth were an 8% rise in cereal grain exports, 11% gain in "other" mineral fuel revenue, and 2% increase in metal ore and mineral sales.

Iron ore was a major driver of the increase in exports, with the quantity of shipments up around 20% in March.

However, the import figures appear to confirm that the mining construction boom is beginning to cool down.

Imports of capital goods, such as heavy machinery, were down 11% to $4.73 billion in March, indicating that businesses were spending less on expansion.

In contrast, imports of consumption goods remained relatively steady.