Australia current account surplus shrinks, drags on GDP By Reuters

© Reuters. A forklift unloads shipping containers from trucks at a storage facility located near Sydney Airport in Australia, November 30, 2017. Picture taken November 30, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s current account surplus shrank unexpectedly in the first quarter as companies paid out fatter dividends to offshore investors, while import volumes far outstripped exports taking a chunk out of economic growth.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Tuesday showed the current account surplus narrowed to A$7.5 billion ($5.38 billion), well short of forecasts of a A$13.4 billion.

Net exports will subtract 1.7 percentage points from gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter, above forecasts for a 1.4 percentage point drag. The GDP figures are due on Wednesday and were expected to show growth of 0.7% for the quarter and 3.0% for the year.

($1 = 1.3939 Australian dollars)

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