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Analysts at ANZ note that the Australia’s monthly trade balance improved to a surplus of AUD4,581m in January, the highest since December 2016.

Key Quotes

“Underlying this was a 5.0% increase in exports, while imports rose 3.3%.”

“Resource exports surged 9.3% m/m, in large part due to a 173.8% increase in non-monetary gold (or AUD1,371m increase). Coal increased by 6.2% and metal ores and minerals rose 3.4%. Rural goods were up 2.4%, due to improvements in meat (5.5%) and wool (16%). Manufacturing goods fell 6.7% as transport equipment fell 41.7%. Service exports increased 0.6% as transport increased 0.5% and travel rose 0.6%.”

“Imports of consumption goods rose by 5.8% m/m, led by a surprisingly strong 13.5% increase in automobiles imports, which we find difficult to understand given the weakness in car sales. Capital goods imports rose 12.4% as transport equipment increased 43.5% and machinery & equipment increased 15.1%. Fuel imports fell 4.4%.”