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Strong trade surplus reassures confidence in Australian economy.



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The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister for Trade

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Media contact: Mr Crean’s Office 02 6277 7420

Departmental (02) 6261 1555

SC089 5 November 2008

STRONG TRADE SURPLUS REASSURES CONFIDENCE IN AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY

Australia recorded a strong trade surplus of $1.5 billion in September, according to ABS figures released this morning.

“This is the second highest trade surplus on record. It is up 18 per cent from the revised August trade surplus of $1.2 billion.

“In the midst of a global financial crisis, the $1.5 billion trade surplus is a reassuring mark of our trade performance,” said Minister for Trade Simon Crean.

“Australia’s trade performance is now moving in the right direction. It is further reason to be confident that the Australian economy is well placed to withstand the global financial uncertainty.”

This result was driven by increases in resources exports, especially metal ores and coal.

Total exports of goods and services rose 8 per cent to $26.5 billion in September 2008. Resources exports rose 14 per cent per cent to $12.8 billion.

Metal ores and minerals exports were up by $941 million or 19 per cent, driven by higher volumes and a 10 per cent rise in Australian dollar prices for iron ore. Coal exports were up by $626 million or 14 per cent.

The September figures showed that services exports added $4.8 billion to Australia’s bottom line.

The Government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook also released today showed that export volumes are set to exceed Budget expectations in 2008-09, with strong growth in mining investment reflecting extra capacity coming on line.

“After recording 72 consecutive months of trade deficits under the previous Government, the September outcome indicates that we are moving in the right direction,” M Crean said.

“The Rudd Government is implementing a new trade policy to open up new export market opportunities, to restore productivity growth and to enhance our level of international competitiveness.”

We have already made significant down payments to improve our export performance including:

• progressing more than 80 per cent of the WTO Doha Development agenda, with hard work continuing on this front; • concluding FTA negotiations with Chile; • concluding, jointly with New Zealand, an FTA with ASEAN;

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Media contact: Mr Crean’s Office 02 6277 7420

Departmental (02) 6261 1555

• unfreezing and progressing FTA negotiations with China; • progressing FTA negotiations with Japan; • beginning the initial phase of FTA negotiations with the Republic of Korea; • fast-tracking an FTA study with India; • beginning preliminary work on possibly joining the Trans Pacific Partnership Initiative

(comprising Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, Brunei and potentially the US); and • providing an additional $50 million for the Export Market Development Grants scheme for 2009-10.

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