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Forex Flash: Australian trade deficit emerges – NAB

The January trade figures produced a deficit of AUD $1.057B, a widening in the deficit from the December AUD $-0.688B shortfall, the widening coming from the cumulative effects of a 1% dip in exports and a 1% imports rise.

On the exports side, there were pluses and minuses, declines in both rural and non-rural exports, offset in the month by higher gold exports. Notable was a 5% decline in coal exports, most likely affected by Tropical Storm
Oswald that hit Queensland in the last week of January and put the coal railway feeder lines to Gladstone under water. According to the NAB Research Team, “This will restrict exports to a greater extent in February, as will Cyclone Rusty that shut down Port Headland for a week or so.”

Moreover, “This will likely see the net exports contribution to GDP in the March quarter as much less friendly to growth than the 0.6% Q4 contribution, or even a negative, depending on how quickly coal exports ramp up and the trend step up in iron ore exports from underway expansion projects.” the team adds. Iron ore export volumes were also lower in January after an equally large jump in December. Iron ore prices were rising at the time so more than likely supply-side shipment effects at play.

Fundamental Afternoon Wrap: No Twist as Banks hold

A quiet afternoon for institutional research sees an understandable focus on EUR and GBP, with both the ECB and BoE delivering unchanged policy decisions this afternoon. The consensus appears to be that a rate cut will follow for the BoE, if not now then most likely in a months time when the budget is announced and a new mandate for the bank can be discussed. All eyes ahead to tomorrows NFPs.
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