FX.co ★ Australia Imports Drop Sharply In January

Australia Imports Drop Sharply In January

(RTTNews) - Australia's merchandise imports declined 14% month-on-month in January to A$17.261 billion from a revised A$20.121 billion in December, a report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday. In December, imports declined 3.6%.

In January, machinery and transport equipment, which had the highest value in total imports, declined to A$6.1 billion from A$ 7.4 billion in December. Imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials fell to A$2.057 billion from A$ 2.289 billion in the previous month, while that of miscellaneous manufactured articles dipped to A$2.425 billion from A$2.571 billion in December.

Imports of most other commodity groups declined in January. However, imports of animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes increased to A$49 million from A$46 million in the previous month.

Commenting on the latest data, Anthony Thompson, senior economist at Westpac said the weakness in capital goods imports reinforces signs of a steep slowing in business equipment investment. On the other hand, the drop in consumer goods imports suggests that spending of the December fiscal handouts to households fell short of retailer expectations, leaving them with excess inventory, he noted.

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the preliminary estimates of imports in seasonally adjusted terms would be released on February 24.

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