SYDNEY, March 2 (Xinhua) -- The trade balance for Australia has fallen for the month of January, with figures released Thursday showing the trade surplus is down to 1.3 billion Australian dollars (995.8 million U.S. dollars) for the month.
The December total was 3.3 billion Australian dollars, a record high, and many economists had predicted January would see a surplus of 3.8 billion Australian dollars, instead Australia experienced the second largest monthly fall in the trade balance ever recorded.
Paul Dales, chief economist at Capital Economics, said the results suggest that there will be "sizeable drag" on growth within Australia during the current quarter.
"While rising consumption goods imports suggest that the surge in commodity prices is boosting domestic demand, this won't transform the outlook for the economy," Dales said.
Kristina Clifton, economist at the Commonwealth bank of Australia, said that although the results weren't as good as expected, Australia should still maintain trade surpluses moving forward, with commodity prices hovering at 45 percent higher than their 2015 lows.
"The narrowing services deficit highlights some of the structural factors at play," Clifton said.
"In particular, the expanding Asian middle income population benefits our tourism and education sectors."
With the results, Australia has now recorded three consecutive trade surpluses.