COMMODITY PRICES ADJUSTMENT
Recorded trade exports data presented for recent months in tables 12-15 of this publication are based on information initially reported by exporters to the Australian Customs Service (ACS). At the time of initial reporting to ACS the final prices may not be known for some commodities. Therefore, the information recorded for recent months for commodities like iron ore and coal can include a variety of prices including previous or current contract prices and the prevailing spot prices. New contract prices that have been recently negotiated, or are still being negotiated, are not fully reflected in the data first reported to ACS. As with commodity price changes in previous years, it is expected that the decreased prices resulting from the negotiation of new contracts will be updated progressively in revised information reported to ACS and then reflected in recorded trade data.
The balance of payments data in this publication for April 2009 includes an adjustment for the anticipated price decrease for iron ore from April 1. As progressive revisions to the recorded trade prices are reported to ACS and then provided to the ABS they will be incorporated into the balance of payment series and the adjustment reduced accordingly.
In the unadjusted recorded trade series, the value of iron ore and concentrates decreased by 21% between March and April 2009 with volumes down 1% and prices down 20%. In the adjusted balance of payment series, the comparable item decreased 23%, with volumes down 1% and prices down 22%.
The price for coal has been steadily decreasing since December 2008. On a recorded trade basis, prices for metallurgical coal fell 20% and non-metallurgical coal (bituminous coal) fell 16% between March 2009 and April 2009. Because of the already observed falls in price, and historical patterns showing that adjustments to coal prices occur progressively, no adjustments have been made to the balance of payments series. This will be reviewed as future data are observed.