Trade balance

The Australia trade balance report (International Trade on Goods and Services report)
Release Date: Released on a monthly basis, about 35 days after the month under review ends
Release Time: At 8.30pm EST
Released By: Australian Bureau of Statistics
The Canada trade balance report (International Merchandise Trade report)
Release Date: Released on a monthly basis, about 35 days after the month under review ends
Release Time: At 8.30am EST
Released By: Statistics Canada
The US trade balance report (International Trade report)
Release Date: Released on a monthly basis, about 35 days after the month under review ends
Release Time: At 8.30pm EST
Released By: Bureau of Economic Analysis
The China trade balance report
Release Date: Usually released monthly about 10 days after the month under review has ended
Released By: Customs General Administration of China (CGAC)
The UK trade balance report (the Current Account or Balance of Payments report)
Release Date: Released on a quarterly basis about 85 days after the quarter under review has ended
Release Time: At 5.30am EST
Released By: Office of National Statistics (ONS)
The New Zealand trade balance report (the Overseas Merchandise Trade report)
Release Date: Released on a monthly basis, about 26 days after the month under review has ended
Release Time: At 5.45pm EST
Released By: Statistics New Zealand


The Trade Balance report is issued several countries in the forex economic calendar. The most tradable Trade Balance reports are those coming out of the US, Australia, China, UK, New Zealand and Canada.

Trade Balance refers to the difference in the value between imported and exported goods and services during the month under review. In everyday economic parlance, this is sometimes referred to as trade deficit/surplus, with a deficit occurring if more goods and services were imported than exported, and a surplus occurring if more goods and services were exported than were imported.

Time of Release

In Australia, it is released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics at 8.30pm EST about 35 days after the month under review ends. Information about this release can be seen on the ABS website and on independent news release sites such as Thomas Reuters and Bloomberg. This news release is also called the International Trade on Goods and Services report.

In Canada, the report is also known as International Merchandise Trade report and is released at 8.30am EST about 35 days after the month under review has ended. The news release can be seen on the website of the agency that releases this news report at Statistics Canada site and also on independent financial news websites.

In the US, the agency responsible for this news release (which is also called International Trade report) is the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The news can be viewed on their website and also on independent financial news websites such as Thomas Reuters and Bloomberg. The news release comes up at 8.30am EST 35 days after the month under review has ended. There will be times when the news release from the US and Canada occur at the same time. When they are at opposing ends, this represents a sound opportunity to trade the USDCAD depending on what each release portends for the individual currencies.

Of growing importance is the Trade Balance data from China, which is released by the Customs General Administration of China (CGAC). The news is released monthly about 10 days after the month under review has ended, but this is not usually a reliable schedule that is set in stone. The news can be seen on the website of the CGAC and also on independent financial news websites. This release is prone to early leaks. Due to the high volume of trade between China and Australia, the currency pair most impacted is the AUDUSD.

In the UK, this economic news is known as the Current Account or Balance of Payments report. It is released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on a quarterly basis about 85 days after the quarter under review has ended. It can be seen on the ONS webpage which covers this event and the time of release is 5.30am.

In New Zealand, this news is also known as the Overseas Merchandise Trade report. It is released monthly by Statistics New Zealand about 26 days after the month under review has ended at 5.45pm EST.

Interpreting the Data

The Trade Balance reports in all countries mentioned above are news releases of high market impact. They are therefore tradable with a positive number (surplus situation) seen as positive for the underlying currencies and a negative number (deficit situation) seen as negative for the underlying currencies.

The demand for imports and exports are directly linked to demand for the local or foreign currencies. A country which imports more than it exports must spend more money in exchanging its local currency for the foreign one to pay for the imports. This creates more supply for the local currency and increases the demand for the foreign currency, leading to a fall in the value of the local currency. On the other hand, a country which is a net exporter will have greater demand for its currency, which foreign buyers must buy in order to pay for the nation’s exports. Export demand will also lead to increased local production, create more jobs and raise prices at domestic manufacturers, all of which will boost the value of the local currency.

In the Chinese scenario, a trade deficit will actually lead to a boost in the value of the AUD, as Australia is the biggest Chinese trade partner in the Asian Pacific region and if China imports more goods from Australia, this will be AUD positive. If China operates a surplus situation, this is negative for the AUD.