This section presents statistics on Australia's international accounts, covering exports and imports of goods, international trade in services, international investment transactions, and the levels of Australia's foreign financial assets and liabilities.
These statistics are used by economic analysts and policy advisers to monitor, evaluate and forecast developments in Australia's external trade and external sector accounts for the purposes of domestic and international macroeconomic analysis and policy determination. They are also used by governments, government agencies, businesses, industry associations, research institutions and others to analyse patterns of trade and assess particular types of transactions and financial claims and liabilities between Australian residents and non-residents, for purposes such as trade promotion and negotiations, and market and industry performance studies.
International accounts cover the closely related and integrated balance of payments and international investment position statistics. Diagram 30.1 presents the broad structure and relationship of these statistics.
Australia's balance of payments provides a statistical statement that systematically summarises the economic transactions between residents of Australia and residents of other countries. Residents, who may be people or businesses, need not be Australian nationals. Transactions cover the provision (changes in ownership) of goods, services, income, financial claims on and liabilities to the rest of the world, and transfers (such as gifts) without anything provided in exchange.
Australia's international investment position is a balance sheet of the stock of foreign financial assets and liabilities of Australian residents. International investment statistics integrate the balance sheet positions at two points in time with information on increases and decreases in the levels of these assets and liabilities as a result of the changes due to transactions (investment flows, including reinvestment of earnings) as shown in the financial account of the balance of payments, together with the other changes that affect either the value of the stock (price, exchange rate) or the volume (other adjustments) of the stock of financial assets and liabilities.
30.1 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BALANCE OF PAYMENTS AND INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT POSITION STATEMENTS
Source: Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (5331.0).
Foreign ownership in Australia
Statistics of foreign ownership in Australia presented in this section use levels data from Australia's international investment position to estimate the foreign ownership of equity in Australian enterprises.
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 data about merchandise exports and imports are used in the compilation of the balance of payments. However, various adjustments relating to coverage, timing, classification and (for imports only) valuation are necessary before international merchandise trade statistics can be put on a balance of payments basis. Therefore, the merchandise exports and imports statistics, and the excess of exports (+) or imports (-), shown in the International merchandise trade section will differ from those shown in the International accounts section.