Coal and LNG Help Offset Ore in Oz Trade Balance

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

The surge in coal and LNG prices in September partially offset the slide in iron ore prices and helped trim an expected big drop in the trade surplus for the month.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data for September, released on Thursday confirmed the lower surplus at around $12.243 billion, which is still one of the highest ever recorded.

The fall of $2.496 billion had been widely forecast by economists and analysts because of the big fall in iron ore prices, so the market wasn’t surprised.

It was a fall from the downwardly revised $14.739 billion ($15.07 billion originally reported) in August. That’s still the all-time high.

The July trade surplus was revised up by a $1 billion to $13.688 billion from $12.650 billion originally reported and is the second highest ever recorded.

The value of exports dropped 6% or $3.081 billion to $44.97 billion thanks to the 37% slump in iron ore prices in the month but that was partly offset by a 2% or $586 million fall in imports (to $32.725 billion) because of “continued global supply chain constraints”, according to the ABS.

The total surplus for the quarter was a record $40.650 billion, more than three times the $12.610 billion in the September, 2020 quarter.

For the first 9 months of the 2021 calendar year the trade surplus totalled $97.42 billion, up sharply from $US 53.19 billion in the same period of 2020.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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