AN INCREASE in imports of laptop computers from China was a standout feature of trade during the month of April, new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

According to the ABS, the value of imports and exports of goods both decreased in April 2020 although demand for resource commodities remained strong.

“The value of goods imported fell in April 2020, down 5% on March 2020, due to decreases in imports of petroleum, aircraft, non-monetary gold, and road vehicles,” the ABS stated.

“April 2020 saw imports from China continue to recover from decreases observed earlier in 2020. Of note, imports of laptop computers from China remained strong in April 2020, in line with increased demand during the COVID-19 lock down period.”

There were also increases in imports of commodities linked with the detection and prevention of COVID-19 in April 2020, including testing kits and personal protective equipment.

“Year-on-year, the value of imports in April 2020 was down 7% on April 2019 with large decreases in the value of imports of petroleum and road vehicles,” the ABS stated.

Preliminary figures showed exports fell $4bn or 12% from the record high figure in March 2020 of $35.8bn.

Driving the decrease was a $1.7bn decrease in exports of non-monetary gold following significant trade last month.

Smaller decreases were also observed in other resource commodities including iron ore, coal, gas and petroleum. “Despite the month-on-month fall, Australian exports remain strong due largely to ongoing demand for Australian resource commodities, in particular iron ore from major trading partners across Asia, and gas,” the ABS reported.

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