Exporter sentiment improves as export volumes drive trade surplus


Export, Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) has released its latest survey of export developments, Export Monitor, which examines the dynamics behind Australia’s trade surplus— which reached $1.4b in January, its highest level in nearly 2½ years.

Image credit: freedigitalphotos By: Sailom
Image credit: freedigitalphotos By: Sailom

“Export values have surged, driven by increases in rural and resource export volumes. This is despite steep declines in commodity prices to multi-year lows over the past month that have been driven by slowing growth and signs of financial stress in China,” said EFIC’s senior economist Cassandra Winzenried.

“The trade balance is likely to continue in surplus as the Australian resource boom moves from the investment to the export phase,” said Winzenried.

“This is fuelling speculation that not just a trade, but a current account, surplus may emerge— for the first time since 1975.”

In the meantime, several sentiment surveys released this month suggest that exporter sentiment is increasing despite the still strong Australian dollar, the uncertainties about China, and the slow world economy.

“The EFIC Exporter Sentiment research finds SMEs sharing this optimism,” said Ms Winzenried.

“Ninety four per cent of SME exporters expect export sales to increase or remain the same over the next 12 months.”

Australia’s International Business Survey also delivered some positive news.

“Seventy four per cent of respondents have plans to expand into two or more markets over the next two years,” said Ms Winzenried.

“And almost three quarters of respondents say their international operations are as profitable as their local ones, or more profitable.”