Dollar, trade deficit decrease

Australia’s trade deficit shrunk for the fourth straight month, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with the dollar down slightly after the results were released.

The Australian Financial Review reports that the deficit was $118 million in November, down from October’s $358 million. Imports were worth $27.5 bn and exports 27.4 bn.

The dollar fell to US89.27 c shortly after the news, and closed at US89.19 c, according to AAP.

“Within the data, iron ore and coal prices are still holding up,” Diana Mousina, an economist at the Commonwealth Bank, said.

“That was offset this month by a fall in the volumes of exports.”

Craig James, a CommSec analyst, said that figures highlighted how closely Australia’s fortunes were tied to China.

“Australia’s annual exports to China totalled over $92 billion, so it will be truly staggering just how much income will be generated from our largest trading partner when all the major resource projects are operating at full capacity,” News Corp reports James as saying.

“Annual exports to China equate to $4,000 for every Aussie man, woman and child.”

The dollar was trading at US89.23 c at 7 am, though rose slightly after the release of lower unemployment data from Germany.

Westpac New Zealand’s Imre Speizer told AAP that the dollar seemed unable to break past 90 cents.

“Strong German retail sales and a fall in unemployment helped the Eurostoxx 50 close up 1.4 per cent,” he said.

“Also helping was an improvement in the US trade balance.”