Australia has recorded its largest ever quarterly trade surplus – a figure of AUD $7.3 billion. Floods had resulted in a deficit in February 2011 but demand in Asia soon drove growth to new heights. The trend also applied to tourism figures, which had declined on the previous year but were kept up by visitors from China and India.
Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP commented on the tourism figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
“The continued recovery in Japan from natural disasters, economic instability in Europe and the United States and the Rugby World Cup have all combined to make this September a real challenge for the tourism industry,” Minister Ferguson said.
“It is important to note that growth from China in particular continues unabated with numbers up almost 19 per cent compared to September 2010, with the China market swiftly closing the gap on the United Kingdom as our second biggest inbound market by arrivals.
“While competitively priced airfares and the continued strength of the Aussie dollar are taking Australians overseas, sustained growth in visitors from China and Southeast Asia remains a bright spot for Australia’s tourism industry.”
Exports from Australia to East Asia were up 24 per cent in the past 12 months, with shipments to China up 32 per cent, Korea up 26 per cent and Japan up 19 per cent. Many of the increases were driven by stronger prices.