(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s monthly trade surplus exceeded estimates in August as iron ore shipments rose and non-monetary gold exports surged.

The windfall was A$9.6 billion ($6.1 billion), compared with estimates for A$8.7 billion and a downwardly revised A$7.3 billion surplus in July, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed Thursday. Exports advanced 4%, while imports were little changed in the month.

The report showed metal ores and minerals increased 4.4% in the month, while non-monetary gold soared 96.7%. Among imports, fuels and lubricants jumped 20.8%, reflecting higher international oil prices.

Australia has been running trade surpluses for almost six years, underpinned by iron ore and fossil fuel sales to the burgeoning economies of the Asia-Pacific region. Elevated commodity prices last fiscal year and the accompanying tax revenue helped propel the nation’s budget back into the black for the first time since 2008.

Demand for Australian goods has been driven by top trading partner China with its strong appetite for iron ore and coal. Trade between the two nations in some other commodities resumed recently after ties thawed between Beijing and Canberra following a political dispute. 

Yet China’s unfolding housing crisis is clouding the outlook for Australian overseas shipments as the world’s second-largest economy slows.

--With assistance from Tomoko Sato.

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