BRIEFS

TRADE

TRADE

Deficit down

Australia's trade deficit narrowed in December, official figures show. The balance on goods and services was a deficit of $427 million in December, seasonally adjusted, compared with an upwardly revised deficit of $2.788 billion in November, the Bureau of Statistics said. Exports rose 3 per cent, while imports fell 6 per cent.

VEHICLES

Strong sales

New vehicle sales made a strong start in 2013, despite a sharp drop in purchases by state and federal governments. Sales of new vehicles were up 11.3 per cent in January, compared with the same month in 2012, figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show.

FOOD

McCain buys

Frozen foods supplier McCain Foods has acquired Kitchens of Sara Lee Australia from Hillshire Brands for $82 million. The acquisition includes a factory at Lisarow in NSW and licence rights to the Sara Lee brand.

RESOURCES

Atlas Iron up

Atlas Iron says estimates for its Pilbara iron ore reserves have risen 21 per cent to almost 500 million tonnes over the past seven months. Atlas has recently indicated it could beat its full year sales guidance after shipping more lower-grade iron ore than expected in the December quarter.

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