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SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) – Australia’s exports to China surged in March to record levels as the Asian giant sucked up more iron for its industry and lowered restrictions on thermal coal shipments in light of thawing relations.
Exports of Australian goods reached A$19 billion ($12.71billion) in March. This is a 31% increase from the year before and surpasses the previous high from mid-2021.
The increase in Australia’s trade surplus helped boost it to the second highest level on record, at A$15.3 billion. This was a boon for mining profits and tax revenues.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed that export volumes of iron fines and lumps to China increased by 24.3% and 17.7%, respectively, from a previous month.
The volume of thermal coal shipped to China in March increased by 125% from that in February. This offset a decline in exports to Japan.
Beijing ended the unofficial ban of Australian coal in January, allowing for the first customs clearance since 2020. At that time, it had imposed trade restrictions on a number of Australian products because the ties were frozen in the early days COVID.
China and Australia reached an agreement last month, following a meeting of leaders late last year to resolve the World Trade Organization dispute regarding Chinese barley tariffs in three months.
Reuters reported that reviving the trade was more difficult than halting it.
($1 = 1.4952 Australian dollars)
Reporting by Stella Qiu & Wayne Cole, Editing by Simon Cameron Moore