THE May balance of payments revealed a record $2.9 billion deficit in Australia, due partly to production decreases in Western Australia, this week 10 years ago. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) estimated that Australian gold exports fell by $450 million, in real terms, to just under $5 billion for 1993-94. ABARE said production had been hampered by torrential rain in WA and a mini-tornado at Kalgoorlie. Merchandise trade figures were also hit particularly badly, recording a deficit of $5.8 billion in the nine months up to March. Falls in the dollar had made imports more expensive, economists said. However, Prime Minister Paul Keating blamed the poor results on the ‘J-curve’.