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March key points
Balance on goods and services
Credits (exports of goods and services)
Debits (imports of goods and services)
Balance on Goods and Services, Seasonally adjusted
COVID-19 and Bushfires in March Month
Quality assurance undertaken by the ABS confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic and bushfires did not result in quality impacts to International Trade in Goods and Services statistics for March 2020. For information on the expected economic impacts of COVID-19 and the bushfires, please see the ABS Chief Economist Series paper Measuring natural disasters in the Australian economy.
Suspension of Trend Estimates
The trend series attempts to measure the underlying behaviour in international trade activity. The method used to calculate trend estimates in Balance of Payments series incorporates observations either side of the reference period, meaning that updated information can influence historical trend estimates. As such, changes to regular patterns in international trade caused by COVID-19 will significantly affect the measurement of the trend series.
It may be some time before the underlying trend in international trade activity can be accurately estimated. The trend series has therefore been suspended back to July 2018 and will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in international trade.
Seasonally Adjusted Estimates
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 real-world events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From March 2020, seasonal factors for series 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.
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