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5422.0 - International Merchandise Trade, Australia, Jun 1998  
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Feature Article - Australia's merchandise trade with ASEAN


(This article was published in the June quarter 1998 issue of International Merchandise Trade, Australia (ABS Catalogue Number 5422.0))






INTRODUCTION

This article traces the growth in merchandise trade between Australia and the member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) over the ten year period from 1988 to 1997. An update on performance in the first half of 1998 is also included. After analysing trade flows between Australia and the members of ASEAN, the article focuses on the importance of this trade for Australia in terms of the various commodities exported and imported. Finally, the article analyses commodity flows with selected individual members of ASEAN over the 10 year period.

The statistics are presented on an international trade basis (rather than a balance of payments basis) and are classified according to the Standard International Trade Classification Rev. 3 (SITC).


BACKGROUND

ASEAN was established on August 8, 1967 under the Bangkok Declaration. When ASEAN was formed in 1967 there were five member countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then the following countries have joined: Brunei Darussalam (1984), Viet Nam (1995), Laos (1997) and Myanmar (1997). For the purposes of this analysis, Australian data for all 9 countries have been included in the 10 year time series used in this article, regardless of the date individual countries joined ASEAN.


TOTAL TRADE FLOWS BETWEEN AUSTRALIA AND ASEAN

Tables A and B show the value of Australia's merchandise exports to and imports from, respectively, each of the ASEAN member countries for the 10 year period 1988 to 1997. Table C shows the value and percentages of Australia’s total merchandise exports to and imports from each of the member countries for the two years 1988 and 1997, and the excess of exports over imports (the balance of merchandise trade) with each member.


TABLE A: AUSTRALIA'S MERCHANDISE EXPORTS TO ASEAN MEMBER COUNTRIES

1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
    Member country
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m

    Brunei Darussalam
13
13
14
16
38
58
54
65
70
58
    Indonesia
636
941
1 355
1 426
1 723
1 813
1 977
2 393
3 083
3 390
    Laos
1
1
2
0
20
16
39
28
5
7
    Malaysia
716
866
983
1 056
1 139
1 573
1 948
2 227
2 214
2 361
    Myanmar
22
1
35
4
14
10
4
13
15
24
    Philippines
343
445
468
477
547
644
724
999
1 134
1 326
    Singapore
1 330
1 707
2 367
2 934
3 769
3 269
3 407
3 833
3 169
3 871
    Thailand
386
553
609
694
1 077
1 252
1 368
1 737
1 678
1 651
    Viet Nam
15
81
23
47
51
107
113
189
204
237
    Total ASEAN
3 461
4 607
5 855
6 656
8 377
8 741
9 634
11 485
11 571
12 926
    Other Countries
38 909
42 397
45 037
47 064
50 001
53 998
55 142
60 186
65 415
71 864
    Total Exports
42 370
47 004
50 892
53 720
58 378
62 739
64 776
71 671
76 986
84 790


TABLE B: AUSTRALIA'S MERCHANDISE IMPORTS FROM ASEAN MEMBER COUNTRIES

1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
    Member country
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m
$A m

    Brunei Darussalam
17
23
43
71
73
27
0
22
0
1
    Indonesia
402
496
522
934
1 243
1 216
1 038
1 344
1 712
2 266
    Laos
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
    Malaysia
633
748
654
776
966
1 037
1 220
1 563
1 705
2 101
    Myanmar
1
1
4
4
7
13
9
7
7
11
    Philippines
135
178
130
138
165
185
231
232
284
377
    Singapore
968
1 272
1 184
1 349
1 329
1 603
2 065
2 502
2 671
2 489
    Thailand
356
480
480
583
716
767
877
1 014
1 082
1 332
    Viet Nam
22
19
19
30
202
251
289
287
393
586
    Total ASEAN
2 534
3 217
3 036
3 886
4 701
5 098
5 730
6 971
7 853
9 163
    Other Countries
39 881
48 511
46 771
45 788
50 807
57 304
62 369
70 498
70 556
74 255
    Total Imports
42 416
51 728
49 806
49 674
55 508
62 402
68 099
77 469
78 410
83 418

TABLE C: AUSTRALIA'S MERCHANDISE TRADE AND TRADE SHARES WITH ASEAN MEMBER COUNTRIES

1988 Export
1988 Imports
1988 Balance of trade
1997 Exports
1997 Imports
1997 Balance of trade

Member country
$A m
% of total
$A m
% of total
$A m
$A m
% of total
$A m
% of total
$A m

    Brunei Darussalam
13
0
17
0
-3
58
0
1
0
57
    Indonesia
636
2
402
1
233
3 390
4
2 266
3
1 124
    Laos
1
0
0
0
0
7
0
0
0
7
    Malaysia
716
2
633
2
83
2 361
3
2 101
3
260
    Myanmar
22
0
1
0
21
24
0
11
0
13
    Philippines
343
1
135
0
208
1 326
2
377
1
949
    Singapore
1 330
3
968
2
362
3 871
5
2 489
3
1 382
    Thailand
386
1
356
1
30
1 651
2
1 332
2
319
    Viet Nam
15
0
22
0
-7
237
0
586
1
-349
    Total ASEAN
3 461
8
2 534
6
927
12 926
15
9 163
11
3 763
    Other Countries
38 909
92
39 881
94
-972
71 864
85
74 255
89
-2 391
    Total Trade
42 370
100
42 416
100
-46
84 790
100
83 418
100
1 372

(a) A negative sign indicates that imports exceed exports.

From Australia’s perspective, the importance of ASEAN as a trading partner increased appreciably between 1988 and 1997. While Australia’s global exports increased by 100% during the period, our exports to ASEAN increased by 273%. Similarly, Australia’s global imports increased by 97% over the period, while our imports from ASEAN increased by 262%.

Exports to ASEAN increased from 8% of Australia’s global merchandise exports in 1988 to 15% in 1997, while Australian imports from ASEAN increased from 6% of global merchandise imports in 1988 to 11% in 1997. In 1997, the ASEAN member countries were the second most important destination, after Japan, for Australia’s exports (see Graph 1) and the fourth largest supplier, after the European Union (EU), United States of America and Japan, of Australia’s imports (see Graph 2).






From the perspective of the ASEAN member countries, Australia is significantly less important as a trading partner for both merchandise exports and merchandise imports. In 1996, Australia was the destination for almost 2% of the ASEAN region’s global exports1 and the source for 2.5% of ASEAN’s global imports, reflecting only minor decreases over the corresponding 1988 percentages. From the individual ASEAN member countries’ perspective, in 1995 the importance of Australia as a trading partner with each of the member countries varied between, 1% and 2% for exports and 2% and 5% for imports2 . Australia is relatively more important as a trading partner to Indonesia than Australia is to any of the other ASEAN member countries. In 1995, Australia was the destination for 2% of Indonesia’s global exports and the source of 5% of its global imports.


AUSTRALIA’S BALANCE OF TRADE WITH ASEAN MEMBER COUNTRIES

Australia recorded a trade surplus with the ASEAN group as a whole in each of the years from 1988 to 1997. Between 1988 and 1995, in nominal terms, Australia’s trade surplus with ASEAN grew steadily, peaking in 1995 at $4,514 million before declining to $3,763 million in 1997. The $3,763 million surplus recorded in 1997 was over four times the $927 million surplus in 1988 (see Graph 3). While small trade deficits were recorded in some years with Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar and Viet Nam, Australia has been in surplus with the other six ASEAN countries in each of the years from 1988 to 1997.

The continuing trade surplus with ASEAN contrasts with Australia's persistent trade deficit with the rest of the world. Australia’s merchandise trade deficit with the rest of the world, grew from $972 million in 1988 to $2,391 million in 1997, an increase of 146%. However there where quite substantial fluctuations in intervening years (see Graph 3).




Australia’s continuing trade deficit with the rest of the world has mainly been due to growing trade deficits with the USA and the EU. These deficits have, however, been partly offset in recent years by increasing trade surpluses with Australia’s other two major trading partners, Japan and the Republic of Korea (see Graph 4).




As a percentage of the value of total merchandise trade (exports plus imports) between Australia and ASEAN, the trade surplus with ASEAN increased from 15% in 1988 to peak at almost 32% in 1990. However, the surplus subsequently showed a steady decline to 24% in 1995, before falling more sharply to 17% in 1997, due largely to increasing imports from Indonesia and Malaysia (see Graph 5).




1998 UPDATE

During the first 6 months of 1998, Australia’s merchandise trade balance with ASEAN moved into deficit. The deficit for the 6 months ended June 1998 was $592 million, which is in marked contrast to the surplus of $2,170 million recorded for the corresponding 6 monthly period in 1997. The turnaround from surplus to deficit is the result of a significant decline in Australia’s total merchandise exports to ASEAN, coupled with a slight overall increase in imports (see Graph 6).




The deterioration in Australia’s trade balance with ASEAN member countries in the first six months of 1998 was particularly marked in the case of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and to a lesser extent Singapore (see Graph 7). Australia’s trade balance with Indonesia went from a $644 million surplus, in the first 6 months of 1997, to a deficit of $605 million in the 6 months to June 1998, a $1.25 billion turnaround. Over the same period, Australia’s trade balance with Malaysia went from a $127 million surplus to a $444 million deficit, a turnaround of $571 million, while the trade balance with Thailand went from a $280 million surplus to a $128 million deficit, a turnaround of $408 million. Although Australia’s trade balance with Singapore remained in surplus, it decreased from $698 million for the 6 months ended June 1997 to $371 million for the corresponding period in 19983.





COMMODITY ANALYSIS OF TRADE WITH ASEAN MEMBERS

Tables D and E show Australia’s trade flows with ASEAN for the two years 1988 and 1997 by major commodity group, the share of total trade with ASEAN represented by each major commodity group in 1997 and the proportion of Australia’s world wide trade in each of the major commodities traded with ASEAN for that year.

Some of the data in Tables D and E are affected by confidentiality restrictions. In making comparisons at the commodity level it should be noted that, in Australia’s international trade statistics, confidential commodity data are not reported against the commodity, but rather are classified to SITC 98-combined confidential items of trade. While confidentiality restrictions do not affect total import and export statistics, they do affect data comparability at the commodity level. In particular, it should be noted that Australia’s export commodity statistics with ASEAN countries are significantly affected by confidentiality restrictions.


EXPORTS

Food and live animals (SITC 0) was the largest group of commodities by value exported by Australia to ASEAN in 1997, accounting for 17% of Australia’s total exports to ASEAN. These exports have grown from $744 million in 1988 to $2,202 million in 1997. In 1988, exports of food and live animals were relatively more significant, in percentage terms, accounting for 21% of Australia’s total exports to ASEAN. However, it needs to be noted that, from July 1995 onwards value details of wheat exports (SITC 04) by country are excluded from the statistics for data confidentiality reasons.

The main commodities exported to ASEAN under the food and live animals category (SITC 0) in 1997 were, dairy products (SITC 02), live animals (SITC 00) and vegetables and fruit (SITC 05); exports of these commodities were valued at $709 million, $387 million and $314 million respectively. Australian exports to ASEAN of food and live animals (SITC 0) accounted for 13% of Australia’s world wide exports of these goods in 1997.

Exports of manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (SITC 6) was the second largest group of commodities by value exported by Australia to ASEAN in 1997. Exports increased significantly in nominal terms over the 10 year period, from $645 million in 1988 to $2,136 million in 1997, accounting for 17% of Australia’s total exports to ASEAN in 1997 compared with 19% in 1988. Non-ferrous metals (SITC 68) were the major commodities traded, accounting for 8% of Australia’s total exports to ASEAN in 1997. Exports of non-ferrous metals grew from $432 million in 1988 to $1,068 million in 1997. Exports of iron and steel (SITC 67) also increased significantly over the 10 year period, from $82 million in 1988 to $522 million in 1997. Australian exports to ASEAN of manufactured goods (SITC 6) accounted for 21% of Australia’s world wide exports of these goods in 1997.

Machinery and transport equipment (SITC 7) was the third largest category of goods exported by Australia to ASEAN, constituting 16% by value of total exports to ASEAN in 1997. In contrast, exports of these goods in 1988 only made up 8% of Australia’s total exports to ASEAN. Over the 10 year period, exports of machinery and transport equipment increased almost eightfold, from $260 million in 1988 to $2,021 million in 1997; increases were recorded in most of the transport and machinery items that comprise this category. In 1997, Australian exports to ASEAN of machinery and transport equipment accounted for 18% of Australia’s world wide exports of these goods.

Exports of non-monetary gold (SITC 97) is the most important single commodity exported by Australia to ASEAN. In 1997, non-monetary gold exports accounted for 13% by value of total exports to ASEAN. Exports of non-monetary gold increased over fourfold between 1988 and 1997, from $425 million in 1988 to $1,718 million in 1997, peaking at $2,257 million in 1992. In 1988 and 1992, exports of non-monetary gold accounted for 12% and 27% respectively of Australia’s total exports to ASEAN. In 1997, ASEAN was surpassed only by Korea as Australia’s largest export market for non-monetary gold, with the ASEAN market accounting for 35% of Australia’s total world wide exports of this commodity (see Graph 8).

Another significant category of Australian exports to ASEAN is mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (SITC 3), with petroleum, petroleum products and related materials (SITC 33) being the major commodity group in this category. In 1988, exports of petroleum were worth $282 million, representing 8% of total exports to ASEAN. Over the 10 years to 1997, exports more than trebled to $901 million in 1997, representing 7% of total exports to ASEAN in that year. Australian exports to ASEAN of petroleum (SITC 33) accounted for 22% of Australia's world wide exports of these goods in 1997 (see Graph 8).





Exports of crude materials, inedible, except fuels (SITC 2), constituted 8% of total exports to ASEAN in 1997, with textile fibres and their wastes (SITC 26) being the most significant major commodity group within this category. In 1997, exports of crude materials (SITC 2) were valued at $1,022 million, up nearly four times on the 1988 value of $266 million. Exports of textile fibres (SITC 26) were valued at $762 million in 1997, almost a fivefold increase on the $161 million recorded in 1988. In 1997, Australia’s exports to ASEAN of crude materials (SITC 2), accounted for 6% of Australia’s world wide exports of these goods.


TABLE D: ASEAN'S IMPORTANCE TO AUSTRALIA FOR EXPORTS, Australian Merchandise Exports to ASEAN

    SHARE OF AUSTRALIAN 1997 TOTAL TRADE
1988
1997
Change
With ASEAN
In commodity
      SITC code and commodity
$A m
$A m
%
%
%

      0 Food and live animals
(a) 744
(a) 2 202
196
17.0
12.8
      Of which:
      00 Live animals other than fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic invertebrates
32
387
1 109
3.0
52.1
      02 Dairy products and birds' eggs
204
709
248
5.5
38.7
      05 Vegetables and fruit
82
(a) 314
283
2.4
27.2
      2 Crude materials, inedible, except fuels
(a) 266
(a) 1 022
284
7.9
6.0
      Of which:
      26 Textile fibres and their wastes (not manufactured into yarn or fabric)
161
762
373
5.9
14.6
      28 Metalliferous ores and metal scrap
(a) 74
(a) 190
157
1.5
1.9
      3 Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials
361
1 075
198
8.3
7.2
      Of which:
      32 Coal, coke and briquettes
80
(a) 97
21
0.8
1.1
      33 Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials
282
901
219
7.0
22.0
      6 Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material
(a) 645
(a) 2 136
231
16.5
21.5
      Of which:
      67 Iron and steel
(a) 82
522
537
4.0
31.3
      68 Non-ferrous metals
(a) 432
(a) 1 068
147
8.3
21.7
      7 Machinery and transport equipment
(a) 260
(a) 2 021
677
15.6
17.9
      Of which:
      74 General industrial machinery and equipment, nes and machine parts nes
46
336
630
2.6
29.3
      79 Transport equipment (excluding road vehicles)
31
358
1 055
2.8
18.5
      9 Commodities and transactions not classified
      elsewhere in the SITC
(b) 785
(b) 3 250
314
25.1
47.8
      Of which:
      97 Gold, non-monetary (excl. gold ores and concentrates)
425
1718
304
13.3
34.9
      98 Combined confidential items of trade and commodities nes
(b) 352
(b) 1 473
318
11.4
. .
      Other Australian exports to ASEAN
(a) 400
(a) 1 220
205
9.4
      Total Australian exports to ASEAN
3 461
12 926
273
100.0

          (a) Excludes export commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details—ASEAN member countries' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (b) Includes export commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.


IMPORTS

In 1997, by far the largest group of commodities by value imported by Australia from ASEAN was machinery and transport equipment (SITC 7). Office machines and automatic data processing machines (SITC 75), telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (SITC 76) and electrical machinery, apparatus, appliances, parts (SITC 77) were the three major components in this broad category. Over the 10 years to 1997, there has been a dramatic rise in the relative importance of imports of machinery and transport equipment (SITC 7); in 1997 they represented 37% of total imports from ASEAN compared with only 15% in 1988. In value terms, these imports rose almost ninefold, from $386 million in 1988 to $3,419 million in 1997.

Within this category, imports of office machines and automatic data processing machines (SITC 75) showed the most dramatic increase over the 10 year period, rising from $76 million in 1988 (representing 3% of total imports from ASEAN) to $1,632 million in 1997, representing 18% of total imports from ASEAN in that year. Imports of telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (SITC 76) increased from $79 million in 1988 to $669 million in 1997, while imports of electrical machinery, apparatus, appliances, parts (SITC 77) increased from $117 million to $653 million over the same period. In 1997, Australian imports from ASEAN of machinery and transport equipment (SITC 7), accounted for 9% of Australia’s world wide imports of these goods (See Graph 9).

Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (SITC 3), were the second largest group of commodities by value imported in 1997, with petroleum, petroleum products and related materials (SITC 33) being the major commodity group in this category. Imports of petroleum (SITC 33) from ASEAN were worth $1,985 million in 1997 compared with $650 million in 1988. While imports over the 10 year period have more than trebled in nominal value terms, their relative significance has declined from 26% of total imports from ASEAN in 1988 to 22% in 1997, after peaking in 1991 and 1992 at 30% of total imports mainly due to higher oil prices in those years due to the Gulf war. In 1997, Australian petroleum imports from ASEAN accounted for 40% of Australia’s world wide petroleum imports (see Graph 9).




Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (SITC 6) was the third largest group of commodities by value imported from ASEAN in 1997, accounting for 11% of total imports. In 1997, Australian imports of manufactured goods (SITC 6) were worth $983 million, up 156% on the 1988 value of $384 million. Textile yarn, fabrics, made up articles, nes and related products (SITC 65) was the major component in this category, imports of which were valued at $255 million in 1997, up 85% on the 1988 value of $138 million. In 1997, Australia’s imports from ASEAN of manufactured goods (SITC 6) accounted for 9% of Australia’s world wide imports of these goods.

Miscellaneous manufactured articles (SITC 8) was the fourth largest commodity group by value contributing to Australia’s imports from ASEAN in 1997, imports of which were valued at $901 million in 1997, triple the $292 million recorded in 1988. In 1997, Australian imports to ASEAN of miscellaneous manufactured articles, accounted for 7% of Australia’s world wide imports of these goods.

Food and live animals (SITC 0) represented 7% of total imports from ASEAN in 1997. While imports of food and live animals grew 101% in nominal value terms over the 10 year period-from $338 million to $681 million in 1997-their relative contribution to total imports from ASEAN has almost halved over the same period-from 13% in 1988 to 7% in 1997. In 1997, Australia’s imports from ASEAN of food and live animals accounted for 21% of Australia’s world wide imports of these goods (see Graph 9).

TABLE E: ASEAN'S IMPORTANCE TO AUSTRALIA FOR IMPORTS, Australian Merchandise Imports from ASEAN

    SHARE OF AUSTRALIAN 1997 TOTAL TRADE
1988
1997
Change
With ASEAN
In commodity
      SITC code and commodity
$A m
$A m
%
%
%

      0 Food and live animals
(a) 338
681
101
7.4
21.3
      Of which:
      03 Fish (not marine mammals), crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic invertebrates, and preparations thereof
122
281
130
3.1
44.6
      07 Coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, and manufactures thereof
(a) 132
161
22
1.8
27.8
      3 Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials
(a) 653
(a) 2 013
208
22.0
40.1
      Of which:
      33 Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials
(a) 650
(a) 1 985
205
21.7
40.4
      34 Gas, natural and manufactured
3
27
800
0.3
28.7
      5 Chemicals and related products, n.e.s.
(a) 119
(a) 470
295
5.1
5.0
      Of which:
      51 Organic chemicals
(a) 35
(a) 128
266
1.4
6.2
      57 Plastics in primary forms
(a) 17
(a) 74
335
0.8
8.0
      6 Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material
(a) 384
(a) 983
156
10.7
8.5
      Of which:
      64 Paper, paperboard, and articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard
27
(a) 159
489
1.7
8.7
      65 Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, n.e.s., and related
      products
(a) 138
(a) 255
85
2.8
10.7
      7 Machinery and transport equipment
(a) 386
(a) 3 419
786
37.3
8.8
      Of which:
      75 Office machines and automatic data processing machines
76
1 632
2 047
17.8
25.1
      76 Telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing
      apparatus and equipment
(a) 79
(a) 669
747
7.3
17.8
      77 Electrical machinery, apparatus, appliances, parts (including
      non-electrical counterparts of electrical domestic equipment)
(a) 117
(a) 653
458
7.1
12.8
      8 Miscellaneous manufactured articles
(a) 292
(a) 901
209
9.8
7.3
      Of which:
      82 Furniture, parts thereof; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports,cushions and similar stuffed furnishings
36
189
425
2.1
30.8
      89 Miscellaneous manufactured articles, n.e.s.
(a) 146
(a) 321
120
3.5
6.6
      9 Commodities and transactions n.e.c. in the SITC
(b) 95
(b) 343
261
3.7
37.4
      Of which:
      98 Combined confidential items of trade and commodities n.e.s.
(b) 91
(b) 218
140
2.4
. .
      Other Australian imports from ASEAN
(a) 267
(a) 353
32
3.9
      Total Australian imports from ASEAN
2 534
9 163
262
100.0

          (a) Excludes import commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details - ASEAN member countries' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (b) Includes import commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.



AUSTRALIAN TRADE WITH INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF ASEAN

Significant developments in trading patterns with the major individual ASEAN countries are outlined in the following paragraphs.

INDONESIA

In 1997, Indonesia was Australia’s tenth most important trading partner in terms of total trade, up from sixteenth in 1988, and Australia’s second most significant trading partner in the ASEAN group for both imports and exports. The value of total trade between the two countries increased fivefold, from $1,038 million in 1988 to $ 5,656 million in 1997. Indonesia’s share of Australia’s total trade increased from 1% in 1988 to 3% in 1997, resulting in almost a fivefold increase in Australia’s trade surplus with Indonesia, from $233 million in 1988 to $1,124 million in 1997, after peaking in 1996 at $1,371 million.

In 1997, exports and imports to Indonesia were worth $3,390 million and $2,266 million respectively; the value of exports increased by 433% while the value of imports increased by 464% over the 10 year period (see graph 10). Indonesia was the ninth largest destination for Australia's exports, and the eleventh largest source of imports.



TABLE F: AUSTRALIA'S MERCHANDISE TRADE WITH INDONESIA
1988
1997
Change
      SITC code and commodity
$A m
$A m
%

      Exports
      00 Live animals
7
213
2 943
      26 Textile fibres
36
414
1 050
      Of which:
      263 Cotton
34
366
976
      33 Petroleum
28
272
871
      67 Iron and steel
(a) 18
136
656
      68 Non-ferrous metals
(a) 87
(a) 322
270
      Of which:
      684 Aluminium
17
147
765
      686 Zinc
56
81
45
      69 Manufactures of metals
9
79
778
      72 Specialised machinery
(a) 20
(a) 107
435
      77 Electrical machinery
(a) 2
(a) 81
3 950
      79 Transport equipment
6
83
1 283
      98 Combined confidential items
(b) 110
(b) 828
653
      Other exports
(a) 313
(a) 855
173
      Total exports
636
3 390
433

      Imports
      33 Petroleum
(c) 213
(c) 1 118
425
      63 Cork
(c) 11
57
418
      64 Paper
9
(c) 106
1 078
      65 Textiles
(c) 35
(c) 126
260
      67 Iron and steel
-
(c) 48
. .
      76 Telecommunications equipment
-
52
. .
      82 Furniture
3
68
2 167
      84 Articles of apparel
3
51
1 600
      97 Non-monetary gold
-
96
. .
      98 Combined confidential items
(d) 5
(d) 20
300
      Other imports
(c) 123
(c) 524
326
      Total imports
402
2 266
464

          (a) Excludes export commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details-Indonesia' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (b) Includes export commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.
          (c) Excludes import commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details-Indonesia' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (d) Includes import commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.


Exports

The largest single group of commodities exported to Indonesia in 1997 was textile fibres and their wastes (SITC 26), which accounted for 12% of Australia’s total exports to Indonesia, up from 6% in 1988. Exports of textile fibres and their wastes were valued at $414 million in 1997 compared with just $36 million in 1988. An increase in exports of cotton (SITC 263), from $34 million in 1988 to $366 million in 1997, was the principal cause of this growth.

Exports of non-ferrous metals (SITC 68) while still significant in absolute terms, have declined in relative importance over the 10 year period. In 1997, exports of non-ferrous metals were worth $322 million, accounting for 9% of Australia’s total exports to Indonesia; aluminium (SITC 684) and zinc (SITC 686) were the major commodities exported and were valued at $147 million and $81 million respectively in 1997. In 1988, exports of non-ferrous metals were worth $87 million and accounted for 14% of Australia’s total exports to Indonesia.

Imports

Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials (SITC 33) was the largest single group of commodities imported from Indonesia for each of the 10 years from 1988 to 1997. Petroleum imports increased by 425% over the period, from $213 million in 1988 to $1,118 million in 1997. In 1997, petroleum accounted for 49% of imports from Indonesia down from 53% in 1988.


MALAYSIA

Malaysia’s importance as a trading partner increased significantly between 1988 and 1997, rising from fourteenth to twelfth in total trade terms. The value of total trade more than trebled between 1988 and 1997 from $1,349 million to $4,462 million. Malaysia’s share of Australia’s total global trade also increased over the same period, from 2% in 1988 to 3% in 1997.

Reflecting the relatively faster growth in the value of exports compared with the value of imports, Australia’s trade surplus with Malaysia grew rapidly between 1988 and 1994, from $83 million in 1988 to $728 million in 1994. Subsequently, however, the trade surplus decreased to $260 million in 1997, reflecting relatively stronger growth in the value of imports since 1994.

Malaysia was the eleventh largest market for Australia’s exports, and the twelfth largest source of imports in 1997. Over the 10 year period, Australian exports to Malaysia more than trebled to $2,361 million in 1997, while imports similarly trebled to $2,101 million in 1997 (see Graph 11).



TABLE G: AUSTRALIA'S MERCHANDISE TRADE WITH MALAYSIA

1988
1997
Change
      SITC code and commodity
$A m
$A m
%

      Exports
      02 Dairy products and birds' eggs
49
158
222
      05 Vegetables and fruit
27
(a) 114
322
      06 Sugars
(a) 1
(a) 89
8 800
      26 Textile fibres
67
142
112
      67 Iron and steel
(a) 17
135
694
      68 Non-ferrous metals
(a) 78
(a) 248
218
      Of which:
      682 Copper
5
99
1 880
      684 Aluminium
51
84
65
      74 General industrial machinery and equip
5
65
1 200
      79 Transport equipment
9
110
1 122
      97 Non-monetary gold
-
142
. .
      98 Combined confidential items
(b) 158
(b) 322
104
      Other exports
(a) 305
(a) 836
176
      Total exports
716
2 361
230

      Imports
      24 Cork and wood
100
70
-30
      33 Petroleum
(c) 160
(c) 69
-57
      42 Fixed vegetable fats and oils
42
(c) 81
93
      56 Fertilisers (excl. crude)
11
51
364
      7 Machinery and transport equipment
(c) 51
(c) 1 170
2 194
      74 General industrial machinery and equip
(c) 9
(c) 68
656
      75 Office machines
374
. .
      76 Telecommunications equipment
(c) 27
(c) 352
1 204
      77 Electrical machinery
(c) 13
(c) 320
2 362
      82 Furniture
5
82
1 540
      98 Combined confidential items
(d) 15
(d) 42
180
      Other imports
(c) 249
(c) 536
115
      Total imports
633
2 101
232

          (a) Excludes export commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details—Malaysia' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (b) Includes export commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.
          (c) Excludes import commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details—Malaysia' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (d) Includes import commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.


Exports

In 1997, non ferrous metals (SITC 68) were Australia’s largest export to Malaysia. Since 1988 trade in these commodities has increased by 218% with the value of exports increasing from $78 million in 1988 to $248 million in 1997. Exports of copper (SITC 682), and aluminium (SITC 684) accounted for most of the growth; in 1997 exports of copper and aluminium were worth $99 million and $84 million respectively. Exports of non-ferrous metals (SITC 68) represented 11% of Australia’s total exports to Malaysia in 1997 and in 1988.

Dairy products and birds’ eggs (SITC 02) were the second largest single group of commodities exported to Malaysia in 1997. Exports of dairy products trebled in value between 1988 and 1997, from $49 million to $158 million.

Imports

Imports of Machinery and transport equipment (SITC 7) were by far the most important category of commodities imported from Malaysia in 1997, accounting for 56% of total imports. Imports of machinery and transport equipment increased dramatically over the 10 year period, from $51 million in 1988 to $1,170 million in 1997, a 22 fold increase. Imports of office machines and automatic data processing machines (SITC 75), telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (SITC 76) and electrical machinery, apparatus, appliances, parts (SITC 77) accounted for most of the increase; in 1997 the value of imports for each of these groups were, $374 million, $352 million and $320 million respectively.


SINGAPORE

In terms of total trade, in 1997 Singapore was Australia’s most important trading partner within ASEAN and Australia’s eighth most important trading partner globally, up from tenth in 1988. In 1997, trade with Singapore accounted for 4% of Australia’s total global trade, up from 3% in 1988.

Australia’s trade with Singapore in 1997 accounted for almost 30% of Australia’s total export trade and 27% of its total import trade with ASEAN. Over the 10 year period, Australia’s total trade with Singapore almost trebled, from $2,298 million in 1988 to $6,360 million in 1997 while the trade surplus with Singapore increased almost fourfold over the same period, from $362 million in 1988 to $1,382 million in 1997, peaking in 1992 at $2,440 million due to a surge in exports of non-monetary gold in that year (see Graph 12).



TABLE H: AUSTRALIA'S MERCHANDISE TRADE WITH SINGAPORE
1988
1997
Change
      SITC code and commodity
$A m
$A m
%

      Exports
      02 Dairy products and birds' eggs
63
107
70
      05 Vegetables and fruit
48
(a) 110
129
      33 Petroleum
175
436
149
      68 Non-ferrous metals
(a) 92
(a) 109
18
      74 General industrial machinery and equip
20
117
485
      75 Office machines
23
181
687
      79 Transport equipment
14
123
779
      88 Photographic apparatus
63
109
73
      97 Non-monetary gold
416
1 436
245
      98 Combined confidential items
(b) 59
(b) 105
78
      Other exports
(a) 357
(a) 1 038
191
      Total exports
1 330
3871
191

      Imports
      07 Coffee, tea, cocoa
(c) 55
42
-24
      33 Petroleum
(c) 260
(c) 341
31
      51 Organic Chemicals
(c) 27
(c) 75
178
      74 General industrial machinery and equip
(c) 29
(c) 45
55
      75 Office machines
71
1 065
1 400
      76 Telecommunications equipment
(c) 49
(c) 150
206
      77 Electrical machinery
(c) 83
(c) 180
117
      87 Professional & scientific apparatus
(c) 18
49
172
      89 Miscellaneous manufactured articles
(c) 74
(c) 101
36
      98 Combined confidential items
(d) 66
(d) 96
45
      Other imports
(c) 236
(c) 345
47
      Total imports
968
2 489
157

          (a) Excludes export commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details-Singapore' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (b) Includes export commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.
          (c) Excludes import commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details-Singapore' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (d) Includes import commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.

Exports

Singapore was Australia’s seventh most important export destination in 1997, taking 5% of total Australian exports. The value of Australia’s exports to Singapore almost trebled over the 10 year period, from $1,330 million in 1988 to $3,871 million in 1997. Forty per cent of this rise in exports to Singapore was due to increasing exports of non-monetary gold. Statistical users should also recognise that some exports to Singapore may subsequently be on-shipped to other destinations.

Non-monetary gold (SITC 97) was the single most important commodity exported from Australia to Singapore over the 10 year period. The value of non-monetary gold exports increased from $416 million in 1988 to $1,436 million in 1997, an increase of 245%, with the value peaking at $2,088 million in 1992. Non-monetary gold represented 37% of Australia’s total exports to Singapore in 1997 an increase from 31% in 1988. Singapore was Australia’s most important destination for this commodity in 1997, taking 29% of Australia’s total exports of non-monetary gold.

Exports of petroleum and petroleum products (SITC 33) also rose strongly over the 10 year period. Petroleum was Australia’s second largest single export to Singapore in each year from 1988 to 1997. This commodity group represented 11% of Australian exports to Singapore in 1997, a decrease from 13% in 1988.

Imports

Over the 10 years from 1988 to 1997, the ranking of Singapore as a source of Australia’s imports increased marginally from tenth in 1988 to ninth in 1997. The value of imports increased from $968 million in 1988 to $2,489 million in 1997, an increase of 157% . The proportion of Australia’s global imports supplied by Singapore increased slightly, from 2% to 3%, over the period.

The largest group of commodities imported from Singapore in 1997 was office machines and automatic data processing machines (SITC 75). Australia’s imports of these goods increased dramatically over the 10 year period, from $71 million in 1988 to $1,065 million in 1997. In 1988, these commodities represented only 7% of Australia’s total imports from Singapore but by 1997, imports have increased significantly to account for 43% of Australia’s total imports from Singapore. In 1997 Singapore was the source of 16% of Australia’s total world wide imports of these goods.


THAILAND

In 1997, Thailand was Australia’s fourteenth most important trading partner, accounting for 2% of Australia’s total trade. In 1988 Thailand was ranked twenty second amongst Australia's trading partners. Over the 10 year period, Australia’s total trade with Thailand grew fourfold, from $743 million in 1988 to $2,983 million in 1997.

Australia had a steadily increasing trade surplus with Thailand between 1988 and 1995; the surplus increased from $30 million in 1988 to $723 million in 1995 before declining to $319 million in 1997.

Australia’s merchandise exports to Thailand increased fourfold over the 10 year period, from $386 million in 1988 to $1,651 million in 1997. Australian merchandise imports from Thailand also increased almost fourfold over the same period, from $356 million in 1988 to $1,332 million in 1997 (see Graph 13).


TABLE I: AUSTRALIA'S MERCHANDISE TRADE WITH THAILAND
1988
1997
Change
      SITC code and commodity
$A m
$A m
%

      Exports
      02 Dairy products and birds' eggs
24
127
429
      26 Textile fibres
39
172
341
      33 Petroleum
11
159
1 345
      54 Medicinal & pharmaceutical products
(a) 7
(a)45
543
      67 Iron and steel
(a) 7
78
1 014
      68 Non-ferrous metals
133
(a) 278
109
      Of which:
      682 Copper
2
38
1 800
      684 Aluminium
123
197
60
      74 General industrial machinery and equip
5
45
800
      77 Electrical machinery
(a) 4
(a) 53
1 225
      97 Non-monetary gold
10
135
1 250
      98 Combined confidential items
(b) 13
(b) 135
938
      Other exports
(a) 133
(a) 424
216
      Total exports
386
1 651
328

      Imports
      03 Fish, crustaceans, molluscs
54
198
267
      05 Vegetables and fruit
13
37
185
      65 Textiles
(c) 57
(c) 74
30
      66 Non-metallic mineral manufactures
(c) 25
(c) 36
44
      7 Machinery and transport equipment
(c) 22
(c) 446
1 927
      74 General industrial machinery and equip
(c) 4
(c) 92
2 200
      75 Office machines
4
125
3 025
      76 Telecommunications equipment
-
(c) 102
. .
      78 Road vehicles
1
88
8 700
      89 Miscellaneous manufactured articles
(c) 35
84
140
      98 Combined confidential items
(d) 1
(d) 59
5 800
      Other imports
(c) 149
(c) 398
169
      Total imports
356
1 332
274

          (a) Excludes export commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details-Thailand' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (b) Includes export commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.
          (c) Excludes import commodities subject to a 'No Commodity Details' or a 'No Country Details' or a 'Selected Country Details-Thailand' restriction. These are included in Division 98.
          (d) Includes import commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction.


Exports

In 1997, exports of non-ferrous metals (SITC 68) accounted for 17% of Australia’s total exports to Thailand. Exports of non-ferrous metals were worth $278 million in 1997 compared with $133 million in 1988. Exports of aluminium (SITC 684) and copper (SITC 682) accounted for most of the increase, exports of which were worth $197 million and $38 million respectively in 1997. Exports of petroleum, petroleum products and related materials (SITC 33) increased significantly over the period with most of the growth occurring in 1997. In 1988 exports of petroleum were worth $11 million and represented 3% of Australia’s total export trade with Thailand; by 1997 exports had increased 14 fold to $159 million representing 10% of Australia’s total export trade with Thailand.

Imports

Machinery and transport equipment (SITC 7) was the largest group of commodities imported from Thailand in 1997, accounting for 33% of Australia’s total imports from Thailand in that year, up from only 6% in 1988, reflecting a dramatic increase in value, from $22 million in 1988 to $446 million in 1997.


OTHER ASEAN MEMBERS

A detailed analysis of commodities traded with the other members of ASEAN has not been included in this article due to their smaller significance as ASEAN trading partners with Australia.


FURTHER INFORMATION

The statistics presented in this article have been sourced from ABS publications and other data sources as footnoted. Users interested in obtaining more details about Australia’s trade with the ASEAN or about other aspects of Australia’s international merchandise trade can contact ABS Client Services on (02) 6252 5400.

Further information on the processes involved in collecting, compiling and disseminating Australia’s international merchandise trade statistics is contained in the article Tracking Australia's International Trade published in the September quarter 1997 issue of International Merchandise Trade, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 5422.0).


1Source: IMF Direction of Trade Yearbook. 1996 is the latest year for which statistics are available.
2Source: DFAT STARS Database.
3 The rest of this article concentrates on the 10 calendar years 1988 to 1997 only. If more details are required on the latest 6 months data please contact your local ABS Office.


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