5368.0 - International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, May 2020 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/07/2020   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

May key points

Balance on goods and services

  • In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $8,025m in May 2020, an increase of $195m on the surplus in April 2020.

Credits (exports of goods and services)
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, goods and services credits fell $1,604m (4%) to $35,742m. Non-rural goods fell $1,080m (4%), rural goods fell $404m (10%) and non-monetary gold fell $219m (12%). Net exports of goods under merchanting remained steady at $45m. Services credits rose $99m (2%).

Debits (imports of goods and services)
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, goods and services debits fell $1,799m (6%) to $27,717m. Consumption goods fell $1,233m (14%), intermediate and other merchandise goods fell $821m (8%) and capital goods fell $412m (7%). Non-monetary gold rose $710m (113%). Services debits fell $43m (1%).


Key figures
Mar 2020
Apr 2020
May 2020
Apr 20 to May 20
$m
$m
$m
% change

BALANCE ON GOODS AND SERVICES
Trend estimates
na
na
na
na
Seasonally adjusted
10 439
7 830
8 025
2
CREDITS (Exports of goods & services)
Trend estimates
na
na
na
na
Seasonally adjusted
42 148
37 346
35 742
-4
DEBITS (Imports of goods & services)
Trend estimates
na
na
na
na
Seasonally adjusted
31 708
29 516
27 717
-6

na not available


Balance on Goods and Services, Seasonally adjusted
Graph: This graph shows the balance on Goods and services, Seasonally adjusted series

Seasonal adjustment

International Accounts uses the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From March 2020, seasonal factors that have been notably impacted by these events will be calculated using data up to and including February 2020, then projected from March 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.

The ABS has advised users that it had moved to using forward factors for seasonal analysis of a number of series including International Travel Services. Current ABS (and international practice) requires at least three years of data to assess whether a change in the seasonal pattern has occurred. Should the COVID-19 result in a long-term change to the seasonal pattern then revisions to these series may occur in the future. The ABS will consult with users on any future methods changes to seasonal adjustment and potential revisions. The Feature Article International Travel Services time series outlines the matter in greater detail.

Suspension of trend estimates

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in international trade activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent changes to regular patterns in international trade that will occur during this time. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this unusual event, they would provide a misleading view of underlying international trade activity.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in international trade activity can be accurately estimated. The trend series has therefore been suspended from March 2019 in the time series and will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in international trade.

COVID-19 in May Month

Quality assurance undertaken by the ABS confirmed that the COVID-19 virus did not result in quality impacts to International Trade in Goods and Services statistics for May 2020. For information on the expected economic impacts of COVID-19, please see the ABS Chief Economist Series paper Measuring natural disasters in the Australian economy.


New ABS Website


The ABS will be launching a new website in 2020. You will soon be able to see how this release will appear on the new website by exploring our Beta site. Regular users of this information are encouraged to explore the Beta site and consider if this will affect the way you access and consume ABS data and information. If you would like more information on the new ABS website, or want to discuss how the transition to the new site might impact you, please email newABSwebsite@abs.gov.au