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Financial News: Australia's Trade Surplus Declines; Private Sector Expands

Australia's Trade Surplus Declines; Private Sector Expands

10/02/2019 - 23:53:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Australia's trade surplus decreased in August as exports were down on weak commodity prices, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Thursday.

However, a survey from IHS Markit showed that Australia's private sector recovered at the end of third quarter reflecting the improvement in the service sector.

Exports decreased by seasonally adjusted 3 percent to A$40.98 billion in August. The decline was largely driven by lower earnings from metal ore exports.

At the same time, imports dropped slightly to A$35.05 billion. Consequently, the trade surplus narrowed to A$5.92 billion from A$7.25 billion a month ago. The surplus was forecast to drop slightly to A$6.1 billion.

Based on the trade data from July and August and commodity price data from the third quarter, the net trade made a moderate 0.1 percentage point contribution to GDP growth in the third quarter, Ben Udy, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

Given the weakness in import values, the economist said he suspects the recovery in domestic demand has been sluggish so far. That is why the RBA is expected to cut rates again in December, Udy said.

In September, the services sector returned to growth supported by a strengthening sales trend, while manufacturing output continued to drag overall private sector growth, survey data published by IHS Markit showed Thursday.

The Commonwealth Bank composite output index rose to 52.0 in September from 49.3 in August.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index climbed to 52.4 from 49.1. A score above 50 indicates expansion and a reading below 50 suggests contraction.

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