Australia—Robust trade performance in 2018
Solid global demand, improvements in commodity markets and a depreciation of the Australian dollar delivered double-digit export growth in 2018. Merchandise exports rose 14% to A$344b–the highest in a decade. Resources led the way with mining states, particularly Western Australia benefitting from the rebound in commodity prices and higher LNG export volumes.
Service exports recorded impressive growth, rising 9.1%, driven by healthier Chinese demand for Australian education and tourism. Manufacturing exports also recorded double-digit growth driven by robust pharmaceutical exports. But drought and frost during the growing season have weighed heavily on the agricultural sector, with export receipts down 2.5% in 2018. Meat exports, including beef, were the exception as higher slaughter rates led to higher shipments. The additional supply was absorbed by the growing Asian demand for high-quality beef.