Good news in March quarter trade figures

Oil and gas made a positive contribution to Australia’s trade result for the March quarter according to the latest estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Although LNG prices in A$ were down by around 12% in the March quarter compared with a year earlier, the ABS figures show that Australian LNG export revenue was $4,560 million in the quarter, up by 8% on a year earlier due to higher production, up by 11% on a year earlier. In US$ revenue was flat.

At the same time there was a significant fall in the cost of oil imports, down by 20% to $2,640 million, due to low oil prices and the reduction in driving due to COVID-19 measures. The fall was partly offset by the A$ depreciation.

There was also an increase in the value of oil exports due to the growing production of condensate from LNG projects. March quarter oil exports were valued at $960 million, up 35% on a year earlier.

Net oil imports fell from $2,576 million in the March 2019 quarter to $1,680 million in the most recent quarter.

Net petroleum exports (LNG exports less net oil imports) increased by 75% to A$2.9 billion and by 62% in US$ to US$1.9 billion.

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