Trade

Australia's goods trade surplus hits 2-year lows on China trade tensions

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Key Points
  • Australia's trade surplus for goods fell to a two-year low in November hit by a slump in exports to top trading partner China, which imposed a number of restrictions in an escalating trade dispute.
  • Preliminary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday showed goods trade surplus slipped to A$1.9 billion ($1.43 billion) in November from A$4.7 billion in October.
  • China has put a stop on Australian coal while imposing hefty tariffs on a range of farm products including barley, beef, lobsters and wine, angered by Australia's calls for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.
Cranes unload shipping containers from a vessel at the Port of Fremantle in Perth, Australia, on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013.
Sergio Dionisio | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Australia's trade surplus for goods fell to a two-year low in November hit by a slump in exports to top trading partner China, which imposed a number of restrictions in an escalating trade dispute.

Preliminary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday showed goods trade surplus slipped to A$1.9 billion ($1.43 billion) in November from A$4.7 billion in October.

This is the first time since November 2018 that the goods trade surplus has dropped below the A$2 billion mark.

The drop was led by a A$1.2 billion, or 10%, decrease in exports to China combined with an A$889 million, or 11%, increase in imports from the Asian heavyweight, the ABS said.

China has put a stop on Australian coal while imposing hefty tariffs on a range of farm products including barley, beef, lobsters and wine, angered by Australia's calls for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.

Preliminary trade data does not include services. The ABS will release the final trade estimate for November on Jan. 7.