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Who's Costello kidding on the trade deficit.

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Simon Crean - Who\'s Costello Kidding On The Trade Deficit? Friday, 18 May 2001

Who's Costello Kidding On The Trade Deficit?

Simon Crean - Shadow Treasurer

Media Statement - 1 March 2001

Peter Costello's increasingly desperate attempts to misrepresent the constant stream of poor economic data was highlighted with his claim that today's trade deficit for January was a fantastic result for the Australian economy.

It's actually further evidence of a slowing economy, mugged by the GST, Treasurer.

Behind the headline figure of a trade deficit of $37 million for the month of January lies the facts that:

Export growth fell for the fourth consecutive month, falling 1.3 percent in January while year on year growth continues to slow despite the lower $A;

Contrary to the Treasurer's boasts, rural exports have, disappointingly, fallen for three consecutive months, falling 6.1 per cent in January after falling 14.5 per cent in December. ❍


Imports fell by 5 percent, with consumption falling a sharp 6.4 per cent and, worryingly, capital imports falling 7.7 per cent.

Capital imports fell for the second consecutive month, and are also down for the second consecutive month in year on year terms. ❍


The figures tell a story of imports slowing faster than exports as a result of a slowing domestic economy, with exports down as growth in our trading partners slows.

Along with yesterday's profits squeeze data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which the Treasurer misinterpreted, and falls in the Westpac and ABS leading indicators of growth, today's figures continue to point to slowing investment activity in the economy. Perhaps the Treasurer's economic panacea is to continue to roll-over on fiscal policy.

It's time the Treasurer woke up to the fact that the GST has mugged the economy.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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