By James Glynn and Rhiannon Hoyle
SYDNEY--Australia posted a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of A$1.243 billion ($911 million) in November, compared with a deficit of A$1.119 billion in October, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Friday.
The figure is much wider than analysts' expectations for a deficit of A$550 million.
The value of exports rose by 8% in November from October, while the value of imports was unchanged.
The trade gap had been narrowing in recent months in line with sharp gains in the prices of coal and iron-ore exports.
The value of coal exports was up 26% from October, while that of metal ores rose by 11%.
Prices for coal, iron ore and other commodities ?rose sharply last year. Coal and iron ore are among Australia's top exports, and the country controls much of the world's trade in other commodities.
The price of coal has surged as China has reined in its own production. At the end of November, Australian shipments of steel-making coal were worth almost four times what they were at the start of 2016.
The price of iron ore has risen 68% over the same period, as economic stimulus measures in China stoked demand for steel in construction and manufacturing.
Rising export prices are expected to help Australia's economy rebound from an unexpected contraction in the third quarter of 2016.
Export competitiveness has also been helped by a weakening Australian dollar against its U.S. counterpart.
Many economists expect further selling of the Australian unit, as U.S. interest rates rise, while the Australian central bank stays on the sidelines, or contemplates further rate cuts.
Writeto James Glynn at firstname.lastname@example.org and Rhiannon Hoyle at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 05, 2017 20:10 ET (01:10 GMT)
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