Australia’s trade account has stormed back into the black for the first time in a year.

A surge in higher prices for iron ore and various coals boosted our export performance in April, producing a surplus of $134 million, an improvement of $2.174 million on the deficit in March.

The last trade surplus we had was in April last year of $92 million thanks to the dying embers of the previous surge in iron ore and coal prices ended in March last year, with new, lower priced contracts kicking in from the next month.

The reverse happened in April of this year with price rises of 40%-80% and more from new quarterly contracts and higher priced spot sales of iron ore and coking and thermal coals boosting exports.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics today revealed that the value of our exports jumped 11% in April from March, while the value of imports was unchanged.

The ABS said that seasonally adjusted, exports rose $2.191 million to $22.661 million.

“Non-rural goods rose $2.292 million (18%) and net exports of goods under merchanting rose $15 million (65%). Rural goods fell $67 million (3%), non-monetary gold fell $48 million (4%) and services credits fell $1 million.”

Non-rural goods comprises iron ore, coal and other metals.

On the import side, there was a rise of $17 million seasonally adjusted to $22.527 million.

The ABS said that non-monetary gold rose $299 million (or 50%), consumption goods rose $151 million (3%), and capital goods rose $30 million (1%). “Intermediate and other merchandise goods fell $439 million (6%) and services debits fell $24 million.”

Peter Fray

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