NT News

Surplus at record high level

- PATRICK COMMINS

AUSTRALIA’S historic commoditie­s export boom extended into the current quarter, as soaring LNG, iron ore and coal sales pushed the trade surplus to a record $12.1bn in July.

A 7.5 per cent lift in resources exports underpinne­d a 5 per cent monthly increase in the value of goods and services exports to $46bn, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed. Iron ore exports were up 3.5 per cent against the previous month to $19.1bn in July, on a seasonally adjusted basis, and were 66 per cent higher than a year earlier.

Coal sales – metallurgi­cal and thermal – climbed 16 per cent to $4.4bn, up 53 per cent on July 2020. Liquefied natural gas exports jumped by 22 per cent in July, 81 per cent more than 12 months ago.

Rural exports also continued their strong run, lifting by 6 per cent in the month just shy of $5bn – 72 per cent higher than a year earlier.

Overall, exports rose $2.09bn or 5 per cent to $45.9bn and imports rose $1.09bn, or 3 per cent to $33.8bn.

But there are clouds on the horizon.

The price of iron ore has declined by $US80/tonne since July 20 to $US145/tonne, and economists believe it will fall further as Chinese authoritie­s look to curb steel production in order to limit carbon emissions.

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