Australia's trade surplus slightly narrowed to AUD 4.87 billion in April 2019 from a downwardly revised of AUD 4.89 billion in the previous month, and below market consensus of AUD 5.1 billion surplus. This was the smallest trade surplus since January, as exports rose 2 percent month-over-month while imports increased at a faster 3 percent.
Exports rose 2 percent month-over-month to AUD 40.43 billion in April. Sales of non-rural goods increased 3 percent to AUD 26.40 billion, driven by metal ores and minerals (16 percent), metals excluded non-monetary gold (8 percent), other manufactures (4 percent), other non-rural (9 percent), and goods procured in ports by carries (5 percent). Additionally, sales of non-monetary gold jumped 20 percent to AUD 1.67 billion. Also, exports of services went up 1 percent to AUD 8.23 billion, boosted by travel (1 percent). Meantime, net exports of goods under merchanting surged 73 percent to AUD 19 million. In contrast, sales of rural goods fell 2 percent to AUD 4.12 billion, due to other rural (-5 percent).
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Imports increased 3 percent to AUD 35.55 billion, as purchases of consumption goods rose 3 percent to AUD 8.93 billion, mainly food and beverages, mainly for consumption (3 percent), non-industrial transport equipment (6 percent), and textiles, clothing and footwear (9 percent). In addition, imports of capital goods increased 5 percent to AUD 6.60 billion, mainly driven by industrial transports equipment n.e.s (19 percent), ADP equipment (2 percent). Also, imports of intermediate and other merchandise goods went up 4 percent to AUD 11.26 billion, in particular fuels and lubricants (4 percent), parts for transport equipment (10 percent), other parts for capital goods (9 percent), and processed industrial supplies (4 percent). Conversely, purchases of services slightly fell to AUD 8.35 billion, dragged down by transport (-0.5 percent). Also, purchases of non-monetary gold fell 9 percent to AUD 410 million.
Considering the first four months of the year, the trade surplus surged to AUD 19.27 billion from AUD 4.67 billion in the corresponding period of the prior year.