Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release by Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism and Acting Minister for Trade

3 July 2008

Australia Posts April Trade Surplus

In a positive development, Australia has recorded its first trade surplus in more than six years in April, according to revised estimates of these figures released by the ABS this morning.

However, the revised surplus was $12 million and, given the estimates involved in calculating this figure, the April trade balance is described by the ABS as “effectively in balance”.

The revised figure incorporates the higher prices for iron ore exports to Asia. However, the trade balance returned to deficit in May, resulting in a trade deficit of $965 million. The result was driven by strong growth in imports of fuels and consumption goods, partially offset by continuing strong growth in resource exports.

Martin Ferguson, Acting Minister for Trade, said the rise in imports reflected the impact of record world oil prices. Goods and services imports grew 6 per cent in May to $22.8 billion, including a 17 per cent rise in imports of fuels and lubricants.

Resources exports posted strong gains in May, up 8 per cent to $9 billion. However, exports of services such as tourism remained steady, despite slower global economic growth and the rising Australian dollar.

“Resource exports remain strong on all fronts,” Mr Ferguson said. “Iron ore, coal and mineral fuels such as LNG were all higher in May.”

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