THE Australian Bureau of Statistics calculated a record-breaking Australian trade surplus last calendar year, reaching $22.2bn.

Minister for trade, tourism and investment Simon Birmingham said Australia’s continued economic growth is largely due to trade, as it has contributed to one quarter of the growth in a five-year period.

Last year was the first time in 46 years every month was in surplus, according to a media release from Mr Birmingham.

“Australia now routinely records monthly trade surpluses, and we want to make sure that we keep that trend going in 2019,” he said.

“That’s why we continue to pursue a trade agenda that opens new markets for Australian exporters across a wide range of industries, helping to build a stronger economy and create more Australian jobs.”

The value of Australia’s 2018 two-way goods and services trade also broke records, totaling $854bn.

Australian exports of metals, ores, minerals, coal, rural goods, meats, cereals and more are all large contributors to the big trade numbers. Natural gas exports increased 69.5% last year as well, making it the third-largest export for Australia by trade value.

“Australian farmers and businesses exporters should be congratulated for these strong results illustrating the unabated and competitive edge our exporters have on the world-stage,” Mr Birmingham said.

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Meanwhile, minister for resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan remarked on the strong commodity export figures.

“Higher prices and export volumes produced a record $66bn in exports of coal, and made it Australia’s most valuable single export,” Mr Canavan said.

“This highlights the continuing role of coal in providing jobs and income for communities throughout Australia, and in underpinning our strong national economic performance.”

Mr Canavan said coal exports increased 16% from 2017’s $57bn and resource exports as a whole increased 20% from 2017’s $206bn.

“Resources contributed 72% of Australia’s export of goods in the year and more than half of the nation’s total exports of goods and services,” he said.

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