Key Data for the Week
Key economic data released this week:
The benchmark ASX 200 index closed up 0.25% on Friday to limit losses in the worst week since mid-November last year. Over the course of the week the ASX 200 dropped 2.72%.
James Hardie rose 13.7% to an 11 month high of $21.62 after the building materials company said it expected to make more profit this year than analysts had forecast.
AMP jumped 11.6% after the fallen banking and wealth giant completed a $650 million capital raising to fund its three year turnaround plan. AMP remains down 43% over the past 12 months.
The Australian futures market points to a 0.34% fall today.
US markets closed down on Friday night, with the Dow Jones falling 0.34%, the S&P 500 dropping 0.66% and the NASDAQ losing 1.00%.
Companies reporting this week include; Alibaba, Applied Materials, Cisco, Macy’s, NVIDIA and Walmart.
Last week, Australia posted its biggest monthly trade surplus on record, and is on track to post its first current account surplus since Gough Whitlam was prime minister.
In June, Australia sold $8 billion more goods and services to the rest of the world than it imported. That is a staggering $1.8 billion higher than the previous month, which was itself a record trade surplus.
A current account surplus basically means the nation is earning more from overseas than it is paying out.
There are no prizes for guessing how Australia is posting record trade surpluses, with surging iron ore prices and shipments of LNG contributing much of the improvement so far this year.
However, while a 1.4% rise in exports boosted the surplus, a 3.6% slump in imports contributed more than twice as much to the improvement in the trade balance. On the one hand, the decline in imports may be a sign the lower dollar is causing people to buy Australian. The more likely, and more concerning, explanation is the import slump simply reflects the fact Australians are cutting back on spending in general.
The record run of Australian trade surpluses has occurred despite Australia's largest export partner (China) and most important strategic partner (US) engaging in a trade war.
The volatile nature of some of these factors also means it is possible that June 2019 was as good as Australia's trade surplus gets, but is a welcome boost for an economy that is generally otherwise spluttering.
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