Australian trade surplus rises above $13b

Australia's trade surplus remained strong in November, hitting $13.2 billion after exceeding $12 billion two months in a row.

The balance on goods and services was $12.5 billion in September and $12.7 billion in October, as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics' data.

Markets expected to see a cooler $11.3 billion surplus for the following month.

November exports fell 0.4 per cent, driven by a drop in other mineral fuels. This category includes oil and gas, which saw lower prices.

Imports fell 1.5 per cent, driven by a sharp decline in freight transport services.

Economists noted the drop, 17.5 per cent for the month, reflected easing cost pressures on freight post-pandemic.

NAB economist Taylor Nugent said it added weight to the argument that consumer goods were shifting from inflationary to disinflationary.

"Though we expect this to be more noticeable through 2023 rather than in the 2022 fourth quarter consumer price index on January 25," he added.

CBA economics Harry Ottley said 2022 was clearly a bumper year for Australian exporters due to high commodity prices caused by war in Ukraine.

"Looking forward to early 2023, we expect the trade surplus to remain healthy as elevated commodity prices and strong demand for Australian goods persist."

Jobs marketplace SEEK has also released its monthly job ads report, which showed a 2.6 per cent decline in the final month of 2022.

This followed a 4.9 per cent drop the month before.

SEEK ANZ managing director Kendra Banks said the slowdown in ads posted to the site suggested firms were winding down at the end of the year.

Despite job ad volumes plummeting 21 per cent from their May 2022 peak, they remain 34 per cent above pre-pandemic levels.

Applications per job lifted 10.4 per cent, which Ms Banks said indicated candidates were willing to take up opportunities in the new year.

"Hospitality and tourism roles have seen the greatest increase in applications per job ad, while workers in trades and services are heavily in demand," she observed.

In November, applications per job edged down 1.1 per cent.