RTTNews - Australia's trade balance unexpectedly turned to a deficit in April, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday, coming in at a seasonally adjusted shortfall of A$91 million.

That was in contrast to analyst expectations for a A$1.7 billion surplus following the revised A$2.393 billion surplus in March. The original March figure was a surplus of A$2.302 billion.

The last monthly trade deficit was in July 2008, the ABS said.

Exports were down 11 percent on month in April, falling A$2.76 billion to A$21.68 billion. Non-rural goods fell 12 percent or A$1.692 billion, while other goods fell 34 percent or A$784 million and rural goods dropped 11 percent or A$320 million. Services credits rose 1 percent or A$34 million.

The fall in non-rural goods largely reflects the falls in the coal, coke and briquettes component, which was down 15 percent or A$619 million. Also, the metal ores and minerals component was down 10 percent or A$430 million. Prices declines were driving the falls in these components. The largest fall in other goods was in the non-monetary gold component, down 37 percent or A$783 million.

Imports fell 2 percent or A$367 million to A$21.771 billion. Other goods fell 35 percent or A$463 million, mainly due to a fall in non-monetary gold, down 32 percent or A$305 million. Capital goods fell 1 percent or A$47 million and consumption goods also lost 1 percent or A$38 million. Intermediate and other merchandise goods rose 2 percent or A$160 million and services debits rose A$20 million.

In April 2008, Australia posted a trade deficit if A$359 million.

Following the release of the trade balance report for April, the Australian dollar edged down against its major opponents. As of 9:30 pm ET, the Aussie fell to 77.18 against Japanese yen, 0.8016 against the US dollar and 1.7696 against the euro.

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