According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australia’s trade surplus for January was A$11.69 billion. However, this figure was A$12.50 billion lower than what analysts had predicted, and it also fell below December’s trade surplus of A$12.24 billion.
The slowdown in Australia’s trade surplus was mainly due to exports growing at a slower rate than imports. In January, exports rose by only 1%, mainly because of a decline in exports of coal, which is one of Australia’s main commodities. Meanwhile, imports grew by 5%, driven by a significant increase in auto imports and industrial transportation equipment imports.
Despite the current trend, analysts remain optimistic that Australia’s commodity exports will pick up in the coming months, particularly as the Chinese economy continues to recover from the pandemic. China is Australia’s largest trading partner, and its decision to end its zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy is expected to increase demand for Australian commodities.
While Australia’s trade surplus for January fell short of expectations, the prospect of a rebound in commodity exports suggests a more positive outlook for the country’s trade balance in the near future.