Surging coal, iron ore and LNG exports have done a lot of heavy lifting as trade with China reaches record highs in October.

The overall trade surplus — the amount by which the value of a country’s exports exceeds the cost of its imports — was weaker than many expected, falling more than 21 per cent from a $2.94 billion in September to $2.316 billion in October, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

But commodities performed well compared with the previous month, with coal exports up 9.3 per cent, iron ore up a marginal 0.9 per cent, and LNG up 7.9 per cent.

Coal, iron ore and LNG export values are all up a respective 29.8 per cent, 15.8 per cent and 100 per cent on October 2017.

For the 12 months to October, coal exports totalled $64.6 billion (making it Australia’s single most valuable export commodity), iron ore was worth $61.6 billion, and LNG $38.8 billion, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said.

Gold exports fell by $355 million, or 24 per cent, in the month of October.

Australia’s annual exports to #1 trading partner China rose from $US109.53 billion in September to $US112.17 billion in October – a new record high, according to Commsec.

Exports to China, which account for 33.65 per cent of Australia’s total exports, are up 10.3 per cent on a year ago.

Imports from China – 24.27 per cent of Australia’s total — rose from $US71.21 billion to US$73.13 billion, which is also a record high.