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Thursday, 8 September 2016
According to the ABS Australia's trade deficit improved by 26 per cent in July or $840 million to $2,410 million, with a 2.8 per cent increase in export values.
The reason for this was a $900 million or 62 per cent spike in gold exports, with gold prices rising strongly over the year to date and production expanding.
It's interesting to consider that while Australia's quarterly iron ore exports have soared close to 200 million tonnes - about four times what the export volumes were in 2005 - there is a possibility that gold could feasibly become Australia's most valuable export commodity. Crazy, huh.
The services export boom seems to have lost a bit of traction on the above measures. The trade services balance has lifted in recent years as the Aussie dollar has depreciated, helped along by a rise in tourism and education services.
Commodity export values have increased for iron ore in 2016, but overall the picture has been underwhelming, with exports to Japan on the slide.
Western Australia has seen its merchandise export values improving somewhat, thanks to iron ore.
And this has helped to restore the ailing trade balance in WA.
A better result, but overwhelmingly due to gold exports which could just as easily snap back next month. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the deficit widening though as iron ore takes its next leg down.
One thing I did notice from the Reserve Bank's figures is that the enormous rebound in coal spot prices hasn't yet been reflected in average export prices, so there may be some upside there.