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Imports point to narrowing deficit

MERCHANDISE goods imports fell 6.5 per cent to $9.8 billion in original terms during June according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

A sharp drop in oil imports to $747 million from the June figure of $994 million, and the dropping out of aircraft imports from June were the main contributors to the fall.

Imports of motor vehicles held steady in July while computer equipment fall nearly 16 per cent after rising more than 40 per cent in the previous two months.

The value of petroleum imports fell by almost 27 per cent after recording a 1.6 per cent rise in June.

Westpac economist Richard Franulovich said the results pointed to a significant narrowing in the trade deficit in July.

The monthly trade balance figures due for release on August 29 are expected to show exports remaining unchanged after five consecutive months of strong growth.

Mr Franulovich expects the trade balance to come in around $850 million down from $1.3 billion in June.

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