Trade surplus confirmed for 2019

Australia has posted a trade surplus of $67.6 billion for the 2019 calendar year, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday, with the value of exported manufactured goods showing a modest increase.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the trade surplus was supported by record levels of goods and services exports.

Figures from December show the export price index of manufactured goods classified chiefly by material rose by 0.4 per cent for the year from December 2018, while “miscellaneous” manufactured articles rose 3.3 per cent for the year. Falls in iron ore and coal drove down export prices.

“Australia has now for the first time, posted a monthly trade surplus for 24 consecutive months, helping to boost our economy and create more jobs,” Birmingham said.

The ABS data showed that Australia posted its largest ever calendar year trade surplus of $67.6 billion, whilst also posting a $5.2 billion trade surplus in December 2019. Goods exports rose 13.4 per cent to a record $391.8 billion in 2019, with services exports rising 8.9 per cent to a record $101.1 billion.

“Despite these strong results, we are acutely aware of the current domestic and international challenges our economy and exporters face as a result of the drought, coronavirus and bushfires,” Birmingham said.

“That is why our Government continues to pursue further free trade agreements with our key trading partners including with European Union and shortly with the United Kingdom, to open up new markets for Australian farmers and businesses.

“By making our exporters more competitive in more markets around the world, these agreements will help to keep the fundamentals of our economy strong.

“We also look to forward to seeing the benefits start to flow for our free trade agreement with Peru which comes into effect next week and our trade deal with Indonesia which is now only a matter of months away.”

Quality assurance undertaken by the ABS, however, confirmed that the bushfires did not result in any impacts to International Trade in Goods and Services statistics for December 2019. The ABS says it will continue to undertake additional quality assurance in the coming months.