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Exports second highest in history.

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Media release

29 November 2006

Exports second highest in history Australia’s strong export performance continued in October, with $18 billion in goods and services exported -the second highest level on record - the Minister for Trade, Warren Truss, said today.

Resources (up 4 percent to $6.2 billion) and manufactured goods(up by 5 percent) led the way, with gold exports up by 16percent.

Overall, a 5 percent increase in imports saw the trade deficit widen to $1.3 billion in October. This was slightly higher than expected.

Mr Truss said exports have risen by 17 percent in the first four months of the 2006-07 financial year compared with the same period last year. This has reduced the trade deficit for the period to$2.8 billion, down substantially on the $4.7 billion recorded in the first four months of 2005-06.

While the resources sector remained a stand out on the export front, particularly in metal ores and minerals, capacity constraints in the coal industry have continued to affect its performance. Coal exports fell by four percent in October.

Rural exports remained fairly flat, rising only $8 million to$2.2 billion off an already low base. Meat exports were up by 4percent but there was a 13 percent fall in cereals exports,reflecting the ongoing effect of the drought.

A factor which is likely to turn around in Australia’s favour relates to gold imports. These were up by 74 percent to $317million in October. The gold will be re-processed in Australia and then re-exported over the next few months.

Capital goods imports were up by 5 percent to $3.4 billion through higher levels of machinery and industrial equipment .Consumption goods were up by the same proportion to $4.6 billion,with a big increase in transport equipment such as motor vehicles.

Export growth over the past 12 months to the European Union has been especially strong (up 44 percent), China (up 32 percent),India (up 23 percent), Japan (up 21 percent) and the United States(up 10 percent).