(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s monthly trade surplus widened in May as exports of gold, natural gas and coal advanced, boosting company tax revenue and strengthening the nation’s fiscal position.
The windfall was A$11.8 billion ($7.9 billion), exceeding estimates for a A$10.9 billion gain, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed Thursday. Overall exports climbed by 4%, while imports gained 2% in the month.
Thursday’s data showed overseas shipments of non-monetary gold jumped almost 16%, while coal, coke and briquettes climbed 1.6% and other mineral fuels — covering liquefied natural gas — advanced 3.4%. Australia recorded a budget surplus of A$24 billion in May, its largest monthly tally on record.
The nation has posted monthly trade surpluses since January 2018, underpinned by sales of iron ore and natural gas to the rising economies of the Asia-Pacific region. The export windfall will see the budget return to an annual surplus for the first time in 15 years and is likely to be well above the A$4.2 billion estimate from two months ago.
Demand for Australian goods has been driven by top trading partner China with its strong appetite for iron ore and coal. Trade in some other commodities such as timber resumed recently after ties thawed between Beijing and Canberra following a political dispute.
Read More: China to Immediately Allow Australian Timber Imports
Read More: Australia’s Budget Surplus Swells on Jobs, Exports Strength
Today’s report showed the value of metal ores and minerals — which includes iron ore — slipped 1.9% in the month.
Travel exports climbed 2.2%, as a rebound in inbound tourism and international student arrivals that began earlier this year continued.
Tourism related services imports fell 3.8%, a rare decline as Australians have recently been taking advantage of the reopening of borders to head overseas.
--With assistance from Tomoko Sato.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.