(RTTNews) – Australia posted a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of A$460 million in July, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday – down 48 percent on month.
That missed forecasts for a surplus of A$1.000 billion following the upwardly revised A$888 million surplus in June (originally A$856 million).
Exports were down A$709 million or 2.0 percent on month to A$321.071 billion
Non-rural goods lost A$631 million (3 percent), non-monetary gold fell A$330 million (17 percent) and net exports of goods under merchanting fell A$4 million (15 percent).
Rural goods climbed A$97 million (2 percent), while services credits jumped A$159 million (3 percent).
Imports sank A$281 million or 1.0 percent to A$30.611 billion.
Consumption goods fell A$139 million (2 percent), while non-monetary gold tumbled A$92 million (17 percent) and intermediate and other merchandise goods eased A$77 million (1 percent).
Capital goods fell A$27 million and services debits added $54 million (1 percent).
Also on Thursday: • The total value of retail sales in Australia came in roughly unchanged in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, the ABS said – standing at A$26.113 billion. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 0.2 percent following the downwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in June (originally 0.3 percent).
By category, there were gains in Food retailing (0.2 percent), Other retailing (0.6 percent), Household goods retailing (0.4 percent), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.4 percent), and Clothing footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.6 percent). Department store sales fell 0.3 percent.
By region, there were gains in New South Wales (0.4 percent), Victoria (0.4 percent), Queensland (0.2 percent), Western Australia (0.2 percent), South Australia (0.2 percent), Tasmania (0.5 percent), the Australian Capital Territory (0.3 percent), and the Northern Territory (0.4 percent).
• The Australian Industry Group said that the construction sector in Australia continued to expand in August, although at a slower pace, with a Performance of Construction Index score of 55.3.
That’s down from 60.5 in July, although it remains well above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
Engineering construction activity expanded strongly and at a rate that was broadly unchanged from the previous month. Continued strength was also evident in the house building sector.
There was stabilization in commercial construction activity in August while apartment building returned to negative territory after a mild upturn in July.
For the construction industry as a whole, both activity and new orders continued to expand at relatively high rates in August.
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