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In trend terms, Australia's total goods and services credits (exports) increased throughout the 1990s. The major commodities contributing to this increase were travel services, metal ores and minerals, coal, coke and briquettes and other manufactured goods.
Goods and services credits (exports) are real resources that are provided to foreign residents. In the balance of payments they appear as credit items.
Goods credits refers to all movable goods which change ownership from residents to non-residents. These transactions are valued in f.o.b. (free on board) terms which means that transportation and insurance costs beyond Australia are excluded. In ABS balance of payments publications, goods credits are categorised into general merchandise and other goods. General merchandise is classified into rural and non-rural goods, with each of these classifications further broken down so that the trading performance of different commodity groups can be monitored. Other goods includes goods for processing and repair, goods procured in ports by carriers (mainly fuel) and non-monetary gold.
Services credits are transactions in services provided by Australian residents to non-residents. These are categorised into groups such as transportation, travel, communication, construction, insurance, financial, computer and information, royalties and licence fees, other business, personal, cultural and recreational, and government services not elsewhere included. More detailed breakdowns are provided under many of these categories.
The export of goods and services provides domestic producers with a wider market and allows the economy, as a whole, to share in the gains from trade. Export levels are affected not only by supply constraints but also by the demand for Australian products and services in the world market. Export demand is influenced by the prices charged and also the exchange rate of the Australian dollar. If the Australian dollar depreciates (falls in value), Australian exports will generally become cheaper for foreign residents and consequently they may demand more Australian goods and services. Export demand is also influenced by the level of economic activity in countries that purchase Australian exports.