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Gold rush declared as overseas buyers snap up Australian bullion

Australia’s trade balance blew out to a surplus of almost $10 billion in August in what Westpac called a gold rush.

Oct 05, 2023, updated Oct 05, 2023
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese lifts gold bullion during a visit with Innovation and Science Minister Ed Husic to Pallion in Marrickville, Sydney. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese lifts gold bullion during a visit with Innovation and Science Minister Ed Husic to Pallion in Marrickville, Sydney. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

But higher fuel prices and a lower Australian dollar meant an extra $900 million was sent offshore for the month, an increase of 21 per cent.

It was well down on the monthly average for the year to the end of March which hit $12.6 billion, but commodity prices have fallen since then and the August result was still above expectations and $2.3 billion above the July figure.

Goods and services rose by almost 4 per cent.

“The $2.3 billion widening of the surplus in August was entirely due to a gold rush, a dynamic that is unlikely to drive further improvements of significance,” Westpac senior economist Andrew Hanlan said.

“Gold exports jumped 97 per cent in the month.

“The balance in trade of gold improved by a staggering $2.4 billion in August to $3.38 billion.”

Import prices for the month increased because of the falling value of the Australian dollar and higher oil prices.

Service imports rose in the month, including a 3.9 per cent in jump in tourism which Westpac said was an extension of a strong upward trend in the sector.

 

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