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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
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Contents >> International Accounts and Trade >> International merchandise trade

INTERNATIONAL MERCHANDISE TRADE

International merchandise trade statistics cover all movable goods which add to (imports) or subtract from (exports) Australia's stock of material resources. The statistics are compiled from information submitted by importers and exporters to the Australian Customs Service. Some goods are excluded for conceptual or practical reasons, for example, those goods temporarily brought to Australia for subsequent forwarding to foreign destinations, and low-value imports and exports in the parcel post system.

The merchandise exports and imports data are used in the compilation of the balance of payments. However, various adjustments relating to coverage, timing, classification and valuation are necessary to put international merchandise trade statistics on a balance of payments basis. Consequently, the merchandise exports and imports statistics, and the excess of exports (+) or imports (-), shown in this section differ from those shown in the International accounts section.

Australia's international merchandise trade statistics are compiled in broad agreement with the United Nations (UN) recommendations for the compilation of international merchandise trade statistics. More information on the concepts, sources and methods used is included in International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (5489.0).

CLASSIFICATION

International merchandise trade is classified by commodity, by country of origin/destination, by Australian state of production/destination, and by industry of origin.

The international standard for the classification of internationally traded goods by commodity is the Harmonized System, a World Customs Organization classification which groups goods according to their component materials, from raw materials through to processed and manufactured products.

The Harmonized system is the basis of the exports classification, the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification, and the imports classification, the Combined Australian Customs Tariff Nomenclature and Statistical Classification (Customs Tariff).

The ABS also classifies export and import statistics according to:

  • the UN Standard International Trade Classification (SITC Rev. 3) which groups goods according to the degree of processing they have undergone, from food and crude raw materials through to highly transformed manufactures
  • the UN classification Broad Economic Categories which classifies international trade for the purposes of general economic analysis according to the main end use of the commodities traded.

Commodity statistics in this section are presented according to SITC Rev. 3.

VALUATION

For exports, the point of valuation adopted is free-on-board (f.o.b.) at the Australian port of shipment, while the basis of valuation is 'transactions value', that is, the actual price at which the goods are sold.

For imports, the point of valuation is the point of containerisation (in most cases), or f.o.b. at the customs frontier of the exporting country or the port of loading, whichever comes first. The basis of valuation is the customs value. For transactions between independent buyers and sellers, this will generally be the price actually payable. Where traders are not independent (e.g. if they are related or affiliated in some way), an appropriate customs value may be determined.

TOTAL MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS

In 2005-06 Australia's imports of goods were worth more than goods exported. This resulted in a $15.8b deficit. However, as the value of exports grew faster than imports, the deficit in 2005-06 was less than 2004-05 when there was a record deficit of $22.6b (graph 30.16).

30.16 TOTAL MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS 30.16 TOTAL MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS


MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS BY COMMODITY

Graph 30.17 shows the proportion of exports and imports in 2005-06 attributed to broad categories of goods. It shows Crude materials, inedible, except fuels and Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials represented a higher proportion of exports than imports while Machinery and transport equipment represented a higher proportion of imports than exports.

In 2005-06 exports increased by $25.0b (20%) to $151.8b. The largest increases were:
    • Coal, not agglomerated, up $7.2b (42%)
    • Iron ore and concentrates, up $4.4b (54%)
    • Gold, non-monetary, up $1.6b (29%)
    • Natural gas, up $1.1b (36%)
    • Aluminium, up $1.1b (26%).

In 2005-06 imports increased by $18.1b (12%) to $167.6b. The largest increases were:
    • Refined petroleum oils, up $3.5b (72%)
    • Crude petroleum oils, up $2.8b (29%)
    • Gold, non-monetary, up $2.3b (95%)
    • Telecommunications equipment, up $0.8b (16%)
    • Aircraft and associated equipment, up $0.6b (16%).

30.17 SHARE OF MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS, By commodity group(a) - 2005-06 30.17 SHARE OF MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS, By commodity group(a) - 2005-06

30.18 MERCHANDISE EXPORTS OF MAJOR COMMODITIES
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
Commodity group(a)
$m
$m
$m

Meat of bovine animals (011)
3,926
4,879
4,541
Wheat (041)
3,399
3,396
3,213
Wool and other animal hair (268)
2,490
2,490
2,258
Iron ore and concentrates (281)
5,277
8,120
12,511
Aluminium ores and concentrates (285)
3,722
4,434
5,294
Coal, not agglomerated (321)
10,916
17,144
24,350
Crude petroleum oils (333)
4,643
5,693
6,004
Refined petroleum oils (334)
1,994
2,388
3,096
Natural gas (343)
2,174
3,199
4,347
Aluminium (684)
3,809
4,139
5,206
Passenger motor vehicles (781)
2,927
2,780
3,193
Gold, non-monetary (971)
5,652
5,642
7,274
All other commodities(b)
58,120
62,519
70,505
Total
109,049
126,823
151,792

(a) Based on the UN Standard International Trade Classification, Revision 3 (SITC Rev 3), 3-digit code.
(b) Includes commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.
Source: International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (5368.0).

30.19 MERCHANDISE IMPORTS OF MAJOR COMMODITIES

2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
Commodity group(a)
$m
$m
$m

Crude petroleum oils (333)
6,322
9,687
12,464
Refined petroleum oils (334)
3,318
4,832
8,322
Medicaments (542)
4,898
5,718
5,942
Paper and paperboard (641)
2,029
2,071
2,043
Automatic data processing machines (752)
5,127
5,792
6,081
Parts and accessories of office machines (759)
2,149
2,141
2,215
Telecommunications equipment (764)
4,360
5,031
5,838
Passenger motor vehicles (781)
11,216
11,597
11,998
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods (782)
3,111
4,036
4,353
Parts and accessories of motor vehicles (784)
2,108
2,285
2,261
Aircraft and associated equipment (792)
3,817
3,685
4,293
Gold, non-monetary (971)
2,562
2,466
4,804
All other commodities(b)
79,980
90,128
96,989
Total
130,997
149,469
167,603

(a) Based on the UN Standard International Trade Classification, Revision 3 (SITC Rev 3) 3-digit code.
(b) Includes commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.
Source: International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (5368.0).


MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS BY COUNTRY

For exports, country refers to the country to which the goods were consigned at the time of export. For imports, country refers to the country of origin of the goods, that is, where the majority of processing of the goods took place.

In 2005-06 Australia recorded a merchandise trade deficit of $15.8b. The following major trading partners were the main contributors to the deficit:
    • United States of America - trade deficit of $13.0b, an increase of $1.2b on the previous year's deficit due to $1.5b increase in imports partially offset by $0.3b increase in exports. The main commodities contributing to the increase in imports were organo-inorganic and heterocyclic compounds (up $0.5b) and motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles (up $0.3b).
    • Germany - trade deficit of $7.3b, which was similar to the previous year's deficit. The main commodity imported from Germany was passenger motor vehicles.
    • Singapore - trade deficit of $6.4b, an increase of $2.5b on the previous year's deficit due to a $3.3b increase in imports partially offset by a $0.8b increase in exports. The main commodities contributing to the increase in imports were refined petroleum oils (up $2.1b), non-monetary gold (up $0.6b) and medicaments (up $0.2b). The increase in exports was spread across a number of commodities.
    • China - trade deficit of $5.3b, a decrease of $1.5b on the previous year's deficit due to a $4.9b increase in exports and offset by a $3.4b increase in imports. The main commodities contributing to the increase in exports were, iron ore and concentrates (up $2.8b), copper ores and concentrates (up $0.6b), and cotton (up $0.4b). The commodities with the largest increase in imports were automatic data processing machines (up $0.4b) and telecommunication equipment (up $0.3b).

In 2005-06 Australia recorded a merchandise trade surplus with a number of countries, the largest of which were:
    • Japan - trade surplus of $13.6b, up $5.9b due to a $6.0b increase in exports partially offset by a $0.2b increase in imports. Contributing to the increase in exports were coal, not agglomerated (up $3.0b), iron ores and concentrates (up $1.1b) and copper ores and concentrates (up $1.0b). Partly offsetting the increase in exports was an increase in imports of refined petroleum oils (up $0.5b) and non-monetary gold (up $0.3b).
    • India - trade surplus of $6.1b, up $1.3b due to a $1.3b increase in exports. Contributing to the increase in exports were coal, not agglomerated (up $0.9b) and copper ores and concentrates (up $0.3b).

Graph 30.20 shows Australian merchandise exports and imports by value for Australia's top trading partners.

Table 30.21 provides details of total merchandise exports and imports for the last two financial years and the merchandise trade balance for 2005-06 for Australia's top trading partners. Statistics are also provided for selected country groupings.

30.20 MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS, Selected countries -2005-06 30.20 MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS, Selected countries - 2005-06

30.21 MERCHANDISE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS, By country and country group

Exports
Imports
Balance of trade(a)



2004-05
2005-06
2004-05
2005-06
2005-06
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m

Belgium
882
1,032
1,179
1,479
-446
Brazil
635
960
643
784
176
Canada
1,880
1,683
1,905
1,993
-311
China (excl. SARs and Taiwan Prov.)
13,003
17,889
19,812
23,206
-5,317
Denmark
170
200
1,044
893
-693
Egypt(b)
286
503
14
16
488
Fiji
394
460
211
175
285
Finland
571
815
815
819
-4
France
1,012
1,170
4,437
5,348
-4,178
Germany
1,315
1,416
8,646
8,680
-7,263
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
2,709
2,897
1,210
1,652
1,245
India
6,055
7,333
1,220
1,240
6,093
Indonesia
3,407
3,979
3,311
4,557
-577
Iran
171
349
24
42
307
Iraq
383
171
6
171
Ireland
179
157
1,917
1,847
-1,690
Israel
173
158
584
615
-457
Italy
1,544
1,560
4,494
4,187
-2,627
Japan
24,955
30,982
17,161
17,337
13,645
Korea, Republic of (South)
9,720
11,691
5,006
6,491
5,200
Kuwait
462
515
160
242
273
Malaysia
2,581
2,528
5,920
6,750
-4,223
Mexico
687
834
776
940
-107
Netherlands
1,794
2,578
1,261
1,314
1,263
New Zealand
9,163
8,728
5,337
5,481
3,247
Pakistan
587
317
146
147
170
Papua New Guinea
1,196
1,398
1,737
2,315
-918
Philippines
869
877
699
805
72
Saudi Arabia
1,808
2,179
1,406
1,209
970
Singapore
3,362
4,200
7,245
10,562
-6,362
South Africa
1,652
2,210
1,330
1,620
591
Spain
914
890
1,327
1,317
-427
Sweden
280
422
1,963
2,395
-1,973
Switzerland
222
260
1,481
1,572
-1,312
Taiwan
4,886
5,865
3,612
3,810
2,055
Thailand
3,900
4,219
4,202
5,390
-1,170
Turkey
279
389
365
354
34
United Arab Emirates
1,274
1,646
820
662
984
United Kingdom
4,821
7,787
5,935
5,972
1,815
United States of America
9,462
9,781
21,270
22,776
-12,995
Vietnam
708
914
3,096
4,161
-3,247
Other countries(c)
6,472
7,847
5,744
6,446
1,401
Total
126,823
151,792
149,469
167,603
-15,811
APEC
93,027
109,280
103,716
120,166
-10,885
ASEAN
14,967
16,844
25,152
33,296
-16,452
Developing countries
62,362
75,477
63,746
77,339
-1,862
Least developed countries
1,487
1,537
223
341
1,197
European Union
13,816
18,541
35,086
36,267
-17,725
OECD
70,182
82,818
88,896
93,817
-10,999

(a) A negative sign indicates that merchandise imports exceed merchandise exports.
(b) Exports of alumina to Egypt are excluded from its country total and included in the 'Other countries' category.
(c) Other countries include: all countries not displayed in the table; Zone of Co-op A-Timor Gap; Destination or Origin Unknown; International Waters; No country details; Confidentialised alumina exports; and Ship and aircraft stores.
Source: International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (5368.0).


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