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May Trade Figures Reflect Strength of Aus. Economy

May Trade Figures Reflect Strength of Australian Economy

International Trade figures for the month of May released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) are a true indication of the strength of the Australian economy, Trade Minister Mark Vaile said.

Mr Vaile said the ABS figures should come as no surprise; Australia is the fastest growing economy in the developed world.

“Rural, manufacturing and services exports continue to perform strongly in a slow-moving global economy, while Australia’s import growth remained firm,” Mr Vaile said.

“The rural sector continues to perform strongly achieving growth in exports of meat products (up 12 per cent), wool (up 13 per cent) and other rural goods, including canola and cotton (up 23 per cent).”

“Manufacturing exports also performed strongly in May with increases in the export of machinery (up 17 per cent), and other manufacturers. Other goods also increased by 29 per cent to $761 million mainly due to the export of non-monetary gold.

“Service exports, Australia’s fastest growing exports, were up by 5 per cent in May which is particularly encouraging given the difficult trading environment. This impressive growth is expected to continue given the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts to break down market access barriers and discriminatory practices in international services trade.”

Mr Vaile said, notwithstanding slower growth in a number of Australia’s trading partners, exports in May to the EU, Korea, China and Japan continued to grow.

“Exports to the European Union were up 24 per cent on April’s figures, and exports over the last 12 months to the Republic of Korea increased by a hefty 31 per cent, and exports to China rose by 28 per cent.

“Australia’s exports to Japan also increased by 3 per cent compared to April, despite Japan’s economic difficulties. This performance reflects well on the competitiveness of Australia’s exporters and the strength of their business relationships with Japanese customers.”

Mr Vaile said Australia’s import growth remained firm in May, reflecting the strength of the Australian economy compared with the world economy and most of our major trading partners.

“The import of a number of big expenditure items, particularly civil aircraft, telecommunications and industrial transport equipment contributed to a 2 per cent rise in goods and services imports. A small decline in exports of goods and services gave rise to a $16 million increase to $435 million, in trend terms, to the deficit of goods and services in May compared to April.”

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