Australia’s trade surplus increased to a record high $8.03 billion in June from an upwardly revised $6.17 billion in May, boosted by iron ore shipments as the price of the metal hit five-year highs.
Exports were up 1.4 per cent for the month while imports were down 3.6 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.
Market consensus had been for the trade balance to expand to a surplus of $6 billion in seasonally adjusted terms.
The value of exports of rural goods fell 4.3 per cent and gold fell 2.2 per cent as non-rural products increased by 2.7 per cent.
Among exports, metal ores and minerals were up 4.9 per cent, cereals slumped 35.7 per cent and meat increased 8.0 per cent.
The value of gold imports jumped 27.6 per cent while capital goods including machinery and industrial equipment fell 8.7 per cent and consumption goods, including items such as electrical gadgets and toys, fell 5.1 per cent.
“Export earnings have been boosted by higher commodity prices while import volumes are soft at a time of weak domestic demand and with the lower dollar making imports more expensive,” Westpac economist Andrew Hanlan said.