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18.1 In any given period, some of the output of an economy may be acquired by non-residents. Such transactions are classified as exports of goods and services. Similarly, some of the goods and services acquired by residents in a particular period may have been produced by non-residents, rather than produced domestically. These transactions are classified as imports of goods and services.
18.5 'Goods' covers transactions involving most movable goods. However, transactions between residents and non-residents in some movable goods are classified as services. The most notable example is goods acquired by travellers, which are classified as travel services.
18.6 Exports and imports of goods are both valued free on board (f.o.b.) at the customs frontier of the exporting country. The f.o.b. price includes the value of distributive services involved in transporting the goods to the customs frontier and in loading the goods onto the carrier. The f.o.b. price does not include distributive services provided in transferring the goods from the customs frontier of the exporting country to the recipient of the goods. If such services are provided on Australia's imports by non-residents they will be recorded as imports of transportation services. If such services are provided by Australian residents on Australia's exports they will be recorded as exports of transportation services.
18.7 The values of exports and imports denominated in foreign currencies are converted into Australian dollars using market rates of exchange. If exporters and importers use derivative instruments to hedge against foreign exchange rate movements, then the cash flows associated with these instruments will be recorded as transactions in derivatives, which are shown in the financial account.
18.8 The remainder of this chapter deals with the sources and methods for compiling exports and imports of goods and services. The compilation of current price estimates is described first, followed by that of volume estimates.
18.9 The main data source for exports and imports of goods is the ABS's international trade statistics (ITS), which are derived from information reported by exporters and importers, or their agents, to the Australian Customs Service. However, as international trade statistics do not cover all goods exported and imported, and do not necessarily record exports and imports in the period in which the changes of ownership actually take place, they are supplemented by other sources. The most notable of these are:
18.10 As all of the sources required to compile statistics on exports and imports of goods are available at least on a quarterly basis, the annual estimates are obtained by summing the quarterly estimates.
18.11 The principal sources of information on exports and imports of transportation services are the International Trade Statistics, which are used to compile estimates of imports of freight services associated with goods imports, and the Survey of International Trade in Services (SITS), which is used to compile all other components of transportation services, with adjustments from other sources. Annual estimates are obtained by summing quarterly estimates.
18.12 Three data models are used to provide estimates of exports and imports of travel services. The models cover:
18.13 Each of these models provides monthly and quarterly estimates. Annual estimates are obtained by summing quarterly estimates.
18.14 The principal source for estimates of exports and imports of other services is the Survey of International Trade in Services. Estimates of insurance services are based on a data model, of which the main input is the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority's Survey of Insurance Companies and Agents. Estimates of financial services are also derived primarily from two data models, one which is used to estimate financial intermediation services indirectly measured on loans and deposits with non-resident financial corporations, and the other which is used to estimate implicit fees on foreign exchange trading. Information from the Commonwealth government and the State governments is used to estimate certain government services, while periodic data from foreign embassies are used to estimate embassies' imports of services.
Exports of goods
18.16 For about 85 per cent, by value, of export commodities, the volume measures are obtained by quantity revaluation, using quantity information recorded in the ITS. The volume measures of the remainder are calculated by deflating current price values using either price indexes or implicit price deflators obtained from quantity revaluation of similar components. The price indexes used include a price index for computer equipment from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (which is lagged by three months and adjusted for $A/US exchange rate conversion factors) and the ABS price indexes underlying those published in Export Price Index, Australia (Cat. no. 6405.0) and Price Indexes of Articles Produced by Manufacturing Industry, Australia (Cat. no. 6412.0). The volume measures of the coverage and timing adjustments that are made to bring exports as recorded in the International Trade Statistics onto the required national accounts/balance of payments basis are derived using relevant implicit price deflators from the underlying quantity data, the Export Price Index, Australia (Cat. no. 6405.0) or a combination of both.
Exports of services
18.17 Volume measures are obtained mainly by deflation of the current price values, using relevant ABS price indexes underlying those published in Consumer Price Index, Australia (Cat. no. 6401.0), Price Indexes of Articles Produced by Manufacturing Industry, Australia (Cat. no. 6412.0), Award Rates of Pay Indexes, Australia (Cat. no. 6312.0) up until March quarter 1998 and, from June quarter 1998, Wage Cost Index (Cat. no. 6345.0), as well as some special purpose price indexes. Quantity revaluation is used for some transportation services, where it is assumed that the volume of transportation services moves in the same way as the volume of the goods being transported.
Imports of goods
18.18 All volume measures are derived by deflating current price values using detailed price indexes. All but two of the components are deflated using price indexes derived from those underlying the price indexes published in Import Price Index, Australia (Cat. no. 6414.0). The exceptions are computer equipment, for which the above-mentioned computer equipment price index from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis is used, and an overseas price index for sea transport equipment.
Imports of services
18.19 In most cases, volume measures are derived by deflating current price values using consumer price indexes from overseas countries, adjusted by exchange rate conversion factors. In other cases, special purpose price indexes, implicit price deflators and ABS price indexes from Consumer Price Index, Australia (Cat. no. 6401.0) and Import Price Index, Australia (Cat. no. 6414.0) are used.