Australia’s exports to China hit record highs as barriers ease

Exports of Australian goods to China hit $12.71bn in March, up nearly one-third from year earlier.

Australia wheat
Australia's exports to China surged to record highs in March [File: Jonathan Barrett/Reuters]

Australia’s exports to China surged to record highs in March as the Asian giant sucked in more iron for its steel industry and lowered barriers to thermal coal shipments amid thawing diplomatic relations.

Data released on Thursday showed exports of Australian goods to China hit 19 billion Australian dollars ($12.71bn) in March, a rise of 31 percent from a year earlier and pipping the previous peak from mid-2021.

The jump helped lift Australia’s total trade surplus to its second-highest on record at 15.3 billion Australian dollars ($10.2bn), a boon to mining profits and tax receipts.

Export volumes of iron ore lumps and iron ore fines to China jumped 24.3 percent and 17.7 percent respectively from a month earlier, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed.

Shipments of thermal coal to China surged 125 percent by volume in March from February, offsetting a drop in exports to Japan.

Beijing effectively ended an unofficial ban on Australian coal in January, allowing customs clearance for the first time since 2020 when it launched trade curbs on a series of Australian products as ties froze in the early days of COVID.

Following a leaders’ meeting late last year, China and Australia agreed last month to resolve a World Trade Organization dispute over Chinese barley tariffs within three months.

Source: Reuters