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Australia recorded 'strong' export performance to close out 2013

07 February, 2014

A positive end to 2013 helped Australia record a strong export performance for the year despite global uncertainties, data released recently by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown.

The government says it is committed to supporting Australian trade exposed businesses by reducing business costs to help make them more profitable and the nation more competitive. This includes a serious attack on regulation, removing unnecessary taxes such as the mining and carbon taxes and streamlining the approval process for major projects.

The trade data shows exports rose by over 6 per cent to reach a record $319 billion, the third consecutive year exports have exceeded $300 billion.

Increases were recorded across the board, with rural exports up 9 per cent, resources up 8 per cent, services up 6.5 per cent, and manufactures up 1.6 per cent. These outcomes resulted in Australia's trade deficit narrowing by 69 per cent from the previous year to $7.2 billion in 2013.

For the month of December 2013, Australia recorded a trade surplus of $468 million, with exports rising 3.7 per cent (seasonally-adjusted) to $28.5 billion, more than offsetting the 2.3 per cent rise in imports. Increases in exports were recorded in most sectors.

Resources exports rose 4.4 per cent to $14.6 billion with other mineral fuels rising 12 per cent, metal ores and minerals 2.4 per cent, and coal, coke and briquettes 4.4 per cent.

Rural goods contributed to the rise in exports, up 17 per cent to $3.6 billion, driven by cereals and cereal preparation exports, which rose 78 per cent during the month. Manufactures exports also rose, up 8.5 per cent to $3.6 billion, driven by higher metals and transport equipment exports.

These increases were partially offset by falls in exports of non-monetary gold, down 28 per cent and services, down 0.5 per cent. Imports increased 2.3 per cent to $28 billion. This was largely driven by capital goods, which increased 4.4 per cent to $5.6 billion and consumption goods, which rose 2.8 per cent to $6.9 billion.

Australia's goods exports (not seasonally adjusted) to East Asia continue to rise, reaching $19.3 billion in December to be 24.6 per cent higher from a year ago.

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