Australia's growing economic relationship with Asian markets,
specifically with China and India, fuelled the country's fifth
trade surplus in July, which economists described as a
steady but mostly insignificant movement.
The latest figures issued by the Australian Bureau of
Statistics Monday also showed that the country's
balance on goods and services reached a seasonally adjusted
surplus of $1.826 billion in the month.
The figures improved from the downwardly revised surplus of
$1.817 billion realised in June but fell short from the $1.9
billion earlier projected by market analysts as economists noted
that Australia's mining boom now serves as a flickering light in
a largely gloomy global economic environment.
The new ABS data also showed that both of the country's export
and import numbers dipped by at least a notch, with the former
retreating in adjusted terms.
The general economic mood is somber, according to JP Morgan
economist Ben Jarman, who told the Australian Associated Press (
) that trade surpluses accumulated since last year cushioned the
impacts of restiveness being felt from the United States, Europe
"In the broader context of the Asian region having a slowdown,
it is a pretty positive result," if not a steady result, Jarman
was quoted by AAP as saying.
"We've got this long run story of pretty solid demand for iron
ore and coal coming out of the emerging economies and that is
happening against a nice price premium," the JP Morgan analyst
CommSec chief economist Craig James, however, was far
from impressed with the latest Australian trade postings,
which he called as "very unspectacular."
"The bottom line is Australia is still paying its way in the
world and our exports are more than meeting our imports ... and
there were no great surprises, perhaps a little bit weaker than
what we were expecting, there is a margin for error in terms of
the monthly figures," James told AAP.
He added that the trade figures only asserted Australia's
close affinity with Asia's economic activities that he noted are
"doing well and requiring our raw materials."
Overall, James said that the new trade figures highlighted a
growing economy and a solid financial sector for Australia yet
the impressive numbers do not necessarily appear in the trading
atmosphere currently prevailing in the local share market.
"What it should highlight to investors across the globe is it
doesn't make sense for the Australian share market to be
religiously following developments in Europe and the United
States," James stressed.