The ABS released its International Trade in Goods & Services data for the month of March 2015, which showed a decrease in the trade deficit to a seasonally adjusted $1,322 million, an 18 per cent improvement on the revised $1,609 million deficit recorded for February.
Coal export values increase
A big helping hand was to be found in the FOB value of monthly coal exports which jumped by $658 million in the month to $3,687 million.
On the other hand the FOB value of monthly iron ore exports declined to just $4,191 million, a world away from the rip-roaring $7,197 million seen as recently as December 2013, as both the spot price and more recently export volumes growth have pulled back.
The FOB value of natural gas exports have declined over the past two months from $1,730 million to $1,362 million.
Thanks in part to coal, monthly commodity exports improved to $22,343 million in March from $20,689 million in the preceding month.
The principal destinations by export values continued to be China (excluding SARs and Taiwan) at 29 per cent of the total, Japan (16 per cent), Korea (6 per cent), the US (5 per cent) and India (3 per cent).
The value of monthly merchandise exports to China has declined from $9,453 million in December 2013 to $6,407 million in March 2015.
State versus state
The export FOB values by state figures revealed the thumping impact of declining bulk commodity spot prices (iron ore and coal) on export values from Western Australia and Queensland.
Western Australia's trade balance in particular has been thwacked by the decline in iron ore prices, despite the state continuing to run by far and away the greatest trade surplus.
New South Wales of course remains well and truly in deficit but has received a welcome boost from coal exports of late.
Finally, while the weakening of the currency has seen a marked and much welcomed rebound in tourism trade, the overall trade services balance remains mired in something of a mess.
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