Country Report Australia October 1996 Main report

Foreign trade & payments: Current account shows some improvement

Australia's monthly current-account deficits fluctuated around A$1.6bn (US$1.3bn) during the first half of 1996. Although this was an improvement on the monthly average of A$2.3bn for the corresponding period of 1995, the deficit still remains uncomfortably high. The current-account deficit amounted to A$20.3bn during 1995/96.

Particularly high current-account deficits were recorded during April and May, as an import surge was accompanied by an easing of exports. Imports fell during June and July, resulting in much smaller current-account deficits. The merchandise trade account was in the black in June and July, but such surpluses were tiny in comparison with the continuing massive deficits on income payments (principally due to servicing payments on existing foreign debt).

Current account, 1996 (A$ m; seasonally adjusted) Mar Apr May Jun Jul Exports of goods 6,406 6,484 6,208 6,462 6,217 Imports of goods -6,304 -6,682 -6,621 -6,321 -6,146 Merchandise trade balance 102 -198 -413 141 71 Net services 21 -40 -62 62 135 Net income -1,509 -1,784 -1,719 -1,559 -1,744 Net unrequited transfers 76 88 70 133 256 Current-account balance -1,310 -1,934 -2,124 -1,223 -1,282 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Balance of Payments.

© 1996 The Economist lntelligence Unit Ltd. All rights reserved
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