Exports increased by 4 percent month-on-month to an all-time high of AUD 35.56 billion in May. Sales of non-rural goods rose by 4 percent to AUD 22.43 billion, mainly due to metal ores and minerals (4 percent); coal, coke and briquettes (6 percent); other mineral fuels (9 percent); other manufactures (3 percent); and machinery (4 percent). In addition, exports of non-monetary gold increased by 22 percent to AUD 1.87 billion while those of rural goods were almost unchanged at AUD 3.99 billion. An increase in sales of meat and meat preparations (4 percent), cereal grains and cereal preparations (2 percent) and wool and sheepskins (11 percent) was offset by a decline in other rural products (-6 percent). Exports of services went up by 1 percent to AUD 7.26 billion, due to travel sales (1 percent) and other services (1 percent).
Imports rose at a softer 3 percent also to a record high of AUD 34.74 billion in May. Purchases of consumption goods increased by 6 percent to AUD 8.95 billion, mostly due to non-industrial transport equipment (2 percent); consumption goods n.e.s (7 percent); textiles, clothing and footwear (7 percent); and food and beverages (6 percent). Also, imports of intermediate and other merchandise goods went up by 4 percent to AUD 11.06 billion, driven by fuels and lubricants (4 percent); processed industrial supplies (6 percent); parts for transport equipment (12 percent); and other parts for capital goods (2 percent). Purchases of non-monetary gold jumped 23 percent to AUD 0.75 billion. By contrast, inbound shipments of capital goods declined by 2 percent to AUD 6.12 billion, led by civil aircraft and confidentialised items (-10 percent) and ADP equipment (-10 percent). Imports of services were almost unchanged at AUD 7.85 billion, as purchases of both travel and other services showed no growth while those of transport rose 3 percent.
Considering the first five months of the year, the trade surplus narrowed to AUD 4.88 billion from AUD 9.13 billion in the same period of 2017.