Cheaper coal hurts trade balance

LOWER annual coal prices and higher imports have dented Australia’s trade figures, with Australian Bureau of Statistics revealing a larger than anticipated $A1.56 billion seasonally adjusted deficit for July.
Cheaper coal hurts trade balance Cheaper coal hurts trade balance Cheaper coal hurts trade balance Cheaper coal hurts trade balance Cheaper coal hurts trade balance

Exporting coal at Newcastle, image courtesy of Coal & Allied.

Blair Price

In a 189% increase on June’s $538 million deficit, July’s figure marks not only the fourth monthly trade deficit in a row but the largest since May 2008.

ABS said on a recorded trade basis, July’s prices for metallurgical coal fell 2% from June, while thermal coal rose 7%.

The coal, coke and briquettes component, representing 20% of Australia’s total merchandise exports, reached $3.05 billion for July, 22% lower year-on-year but 3% higher than June.

In similar fashion, the metal ores and minerals component reached $3.63 billion, 4% higher than June but 18% lower year-on-year.

Overall, seasonally adjusted goods and services exports were down 1% in July, while seasonally adjusted imports were up 4%.

Premium hard coking coal prices fell 57% to $US129 a tonne for the current Japanese financial year, which started in April.

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