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Australia trade balance hits 5-mth low in Feb, iron ore exports dip

Published 05/04/2024, 11:46 am
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Investing.com-- Australia’s trade balance fell more than expected to a five-month low in February, as exports- particularly those of Australia's key iron ore products- fell substantially during the month. 

Australia’s trade balance shrank to a surplus of A$7.28 billion ($4.79 billion), data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday. The figure was weaker than expectations of A$10.5 billion, and shrank substantially from the A$11.03 billion seen in January.

The country’s trade balance hit its weakest level since September. 

The drop was spurred chiefly by a 2.2% drop in exports from the prior month, as the exports of metal ores and minerals- which are by far Australia’s biggest product- slid 8.1% month-on-month. Specifically, iron ore exports slid between 11% and 16%, hit by softer demand for the steelmaking material in China. 

A sustained property downturn in China has greatly dented the country’s appetite for metals. China is Australia’s biggest export destination, and is a key buyer of iron ore from the country. 

The drop in iron ore exports largely offset increased coal, fuel and metal exports. 

Australian imports also grew a faster 4.8% in February, amid persistent demand for consumer goods, which were a key driver of imports during the month. 

 

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