CANBERRA, May 10 — Australia’s trade balance turned back to a surplus in March, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed on Tuesday.
The figures showed that the nation posted a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of 1.9 billion U.S. dollars in March, compared with a revised deficit of 95.5 million U.S. dollars in February.
The surplus is wider than analysts’ expectations of a surplus of 550 million U.S. dollars.
During the month, exports surged nine percent, led by the mining industry. Exports of metal ores and minerals were up 15 percent, after falling nine percent the previous month. Non- monetary gold exports surged 59 percent.
Imports also gained one percent in March, largely due to the impact of higher oil prices.
According to JPMorgan economist Ben Jarman, the figures suggested the key coal-producing state of Queensland in Australia has resumed booming operations, following a series of devastating flood earlier this year.
“We expect coal output to continue improving as producers negotiate environmental issues associated with removing water from mining pits,” Jarman told The Australian newspaper on Tuesday.
“However, natural disasters in Japan, Australia’s second- largest export market, and the ensuing interruption to industrial activity there, warns that the sudden whip-saw higher in revenues in March may be followed up with a softer demand-side outlook in coming months.”
Meanwhile, Nomura chief economist Stephen Roberts said the strong number implied that Australia is back into a run of big surplus, which is something the Reserve Bank of Australia would closely note.
Roberts is forecasting a cash rate hike of 25 basis points, when the central bank meets in June.
The Australian dollar was boosted by the data, rising to 1.0790 U.S. dollars from 1.0764 U.S. dollars before the release of report.