5368.0 - International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, Mar 2020 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/05/2020   
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March key points

Suspension of trend estimates

  • Due to the impact of COVID-19 trend estimates have been suspended in this publication back to July 2018.

Balance on goods and services
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $10,602m in March 2020, an increase of $6,737m on the surplus in February 2020.

Credits (exports of goods and services)
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, goods and services credits rose $5,558m (15%) to $42,417m. Non-rural goods rose $3,540m (15%), non-monetary gold rose $2,474m, rural goods rose $271m (7%) and net exports of goods under merchanting rose $1m (6%). Services credits fell $727m (9%).

Debits (imports of goods and services)
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, goods and services debits fell $1,178m (4%) to $31,815m. Capital goods fell $194m (3%). Non-monetary gold rose $466m (85%), intermediate and other merchandise goods rose $31m and consumption goods rose $10m. Services debits fell $1,492m (19%).

Key figures
Jan 2020
Feb 2020
Mar 2020
Feb 20 to Mar 20
$m
$m
$m
% change

BALANCE ON GOODS AND SERVICES
Trend estimates (a)
na
na
na
na
Seasonally adjusted
5 046
3 865
10 602
174
CREDITS (Exports of goods & services)
Trend estimates (a)
na
na
na
na
Seasonally adjusted
39 612
36 859
42 417
15
DEBITS (Imports of goods & services)
Trend estimates (a)
na
na
na
na
Seasonally adjusted
34 567
32 993
31 815
-4

na not available
(a) The trend series have been suspended due to the impacts of COVID-19.


Balance on Goods and Services, Seasonally adjusted
Graph: This graph shows the Balance on Goods and Services for the Trend and Seasonally adjusted series


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.


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.