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Since 2004-05 imports have increased 16.8% in volume terms compared to 6.2% growth in exports. The slower growth in Export was mainly driven by weak growth in rural goods exported. Over the past three years, rural goods exported decreased by $1,301m (5.1%). The decreases were largely driven by a fall in exports of cereal grains and cereal preparations, down $1,459m (28.3%).
Net exports represent the difference between Exports and Imports. Net exports detract from GDP growth when the change in the volume of Imports has been greater than the change in the volume of Exports. Since 2001-02 Net exports have detracted around 8.7% from GDP growth, in most part from increasing Imports.
In addition to the trade in goods and services, the flow of funds between Australia and overseas is an important component of relationship with the rest of the world. Australia has generally been a net borrower of funds from overseas. In the national accounts, this situation is reflected by a negative value for net lending to non-residents. The only exception to this pattern was in 1972-73. The ratio of net borrowing from overseas to GDP in 2006-07 was 5.5%, up slightly from 5.4 in 2005-06.
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