5:30 PM Sydney – Australian trade deficit tripled after coal and iron ore shipments lagged on inclement weather conditions in April. In the month, exports declined 6% and imports rose 4%. In addition, retail sales stalled in the month.
Australian market indexes and confidence in the economy was on the decline after retail sales were flat and trade deficit soared.
Australia registered the largest trade deficit in April on record, surpassing the worst data at the depth of the global financial crisis in February 2008.
The deficit soared after coal and iron ore shipments were delayed by difficult weather conditions in the month and declining commodities prices trimmed the value of shipments.
Australian exports declined 6% in April from March while imports increased by 4%.
Seasonally adjusted trade deficit in April soared more than three-fold to $3.89 billion from upwardly revised of $1.23 billion in previous month and $1.59 billion from a year ago month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today.
Seasonally adjusted exports in April declined 6% to $25.66 billion while imports climbed 4% to $29.55 billion.
In a separate report the department added the seasonally adjusted total value of retail sales in April was flat at $24.097 billion from increase of 0.2% in March and 0.7% in February.
Australian dollar closed at 77.20 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover jumped to 867 billion shares worth $6 billion.
At close, the ASX 200 Index declined 79.30 or 1.4% to 5,504.30 and the broader All Ordinaries Index dropped 77 to 5,511.30.
In commodities trading, gold slipped US$8 to US$1,184 an ounce and Brent crude fell 0.35 cents to close at US$63.45 a barrel.
more than doubled to $2.03 after the fibre optic network provider priced its stock at $1.
The stock opened at $2 and closed at $2.03.
Australian Stock Movers
Ainsworth Game Technology Limited
slumped 6.9% to $2.81 and the gaming machine supplier forecasted net profit for the year to match $61.6 million reported in a year ago period and total revenues to drop about 2% from $244.1 million reported last year.
tumbled 17.7% to $1.14 after the grocery retailer announced write-down of about $640 million and reaffirmed its current year operating outlook.
The wholesaler also halted dividend payment in the current and next year.
Qube Holdings Ltd
plunged 7.6% to $2.56 after the logistics and infrastructure developer and Aurizon agreed to develop and operate import-export freight terminal at Sydney’s Port Botany with an estimated cost of $1.5 billion.
The project will create 7,700 jobs and to be commence by the end of 2017.
fell 0.3% to $16.40 after the online employment services provider lifted its stakes in Mexico-based web site OCC Mundial to 98.2% from 56.4% and in SeekAsia to 80.8% from 75.6% in a deal worth $125 million.
fell 0.5% to $1.83 after the walnuts and brown onions producer agreed to acquire cotton and cereal crops producer Tandou Limited in exchange of one share for every 2.25 Tandou shares valued at 82 cents per share.