Australia trade deficit widens to $1.9B in May as mining exports decline

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Canberra, Australia (4E) – Australia’s international trade balance has slipped further into deficit in May after a decline in mining exports.

The shortfall stood at $1.9bn in May, compared to a deficit of $780mn in April, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data released Wednesday.

Exports may have played a role for the sharp widening in the trade deficit, according to ANZ economist Dylan Eades. Sharp declines were observed in the bulk commodities component, minerals and metal ores, he said.

Mr. Eades also said that both coal and iron ore volumes are still holding up well at the moment, so it largely reflects those weaker bulk commodity prices seen over the last few months finding their way into the trade data.

Imports posted a modest decline, with most of the weakness linked to capital goods, which is consistent with a slowdown in mining investment, Mr. Eades said. Exports slid 5.0 percent in May, while imports declined 1.0 percent.

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