Largest ever current account surplus shows strength of export sector

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the data demonstrated that Australia’s export sector continued to hold-up despite the immense challenges and pressures it was facing.

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Australia recorded a mega $19.2 billion trade surplus for the March quarter along with its highest ever current account surplus, highlighting how important our export sector will be as the Australian and global economy begins to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

New data released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Australia registered a record $8.4 billion current account surplus for the March quarter, the highest as a percentage of GDP since June 1973.

“(These) results show that our resilient, competitive and innovative export sector is well-positioned to continue to meet the ongoing economic challenges before them,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Australian exporters make a crucial contribution to our economy and, while the next quarter will report against a period of even greater global disruption, I am confident that the quality and value of our exports will continue to stand us in good stead.

“Despite these positive results, we are acutely aware of the parts of the ongoing challenge of the services sector face, such as the tourism industry, given the ongoing necessary international travel restrictions that are in place.

“That is why our Government has taken significant steps to support businesses and jobs across the tourism sector through cash payments of up to $100,000 and the JobKeeper payment that has given thousands of tourism businesses a lifeline.

“We’ve also taken action to keep our agricultural and fisheries exports flowing through initiatives such as our $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism and by continuing to open up new market opportunities for Australian farmers and businesses.

"Our free trade deal with Indonesia will come into effect next month and we continue to pursue free trade agreements with key trading partners including the European Union and shortly with the United Kingdom.

"By making our exporters more competitive in more markets around the world, these agreements will help our export sector go from strength-to-strength which is so critical given one in five Australian jobs are reliant on trade.”

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