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Australia's trade deficit narrows

Australia,Business/Economy, Wed, 04 Apr 2012 IANS

Sydney, April 4 (IANS) Australia's trade deficit narrowed in February, following a large deficit reading in January, according to data released Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).


The balance on goods and services was a deficit of 480 million AU dollars ($493.39 million) in February, a fall of 491 million AU dollars ($504.70 million) on the deficit in January, the ABS said.


Economists had forecast a surplus of 1.1 billion AU dollars ($1.13 billion) for February, reported Xinhua.


Exports of goods and services in February fell 2.0 percent while imports of goods and services dropped 4.0 percent, the ABS said.


Economists said Australia's trade figures remained weak in February but improved over the month and should return to positive ground in the near-term.


Australia's financial services firm CommSec predicted that activity levels in terms of export growth would pick up soon.


"If you look at the Australian trade story in the last 12 to 18 months, it's been pretty positive," economist Savanth Sebastian said.


Economist Ben Jarman of global investment bank JP Morgan said the trade balance did improve in February but it would take a little while to get back to normal.


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