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Record export figures for August

WESTERN Australia’s merchandise exports grew by 5.6 per cent during August, to nearly $5.5 billion, while national exports hit a monthly record of $18.6 billion, according to data from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. WA’s total merchandise trade was up 7 per cent to $7.8 billion, with a 10.5 per cent increase in imports. Non-rural exports rose by 6.8 per cent in August, led by metal ores and minerals (up 11.9 per cent). Other commodities to achieve growth in exports were mineral fuels (up 18.7 per cent) and gold (up 9.3 per cent), while machinery exports provided a boost to the non-rural total with an increase of 29.5 per cent. However, the state’s rural exports were down 14.6 per cent, to $256.9 million, due to large falls in wool exports (54.3 per cent) and cereal grains (42.7 per cent). China overtook Japan as WA’s top export partner during the month, taking nearly $1.2 billion in exports from WA. Meanwhile, Japan’s intake of WA exports fell by 14.1 per cent, to just over $1 billion. Big monthly increases were recorded for the Philippines, up 681.2 per cent to $85.5 million, and Singapore, up 382.9 per cent to $266.8 million. At a national level, exports to India increased by 32 per cent, while exports to China were up 24 per cent. Australia’s total export revenue, of $18.6 billion, exceeded the previous record achieved in June 2006. Total exports were up 2 per cent ($321 million) in value since July, led by growth in resources exports, which were up 8 per cent to $6.4 billion. Services exports also performed well, up by 1 per cent to $4.1 billion, although manufactured and rural exports were both down on the previous month, by 3 per cent (to $3.8 billion) and 4 per cent (to $1.8 billion), respectively. Despite strong export results, a fall in wheat and cereal grain exports, combined with growth in imports of fuel and civil aircraft, meant the trade deficit increased by $731 million to $1.61 billion.

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