5331.0 - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/03/2011   
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The Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual Sixth edition states that:

    10.13 General merchandise on a Balance of Payments basis covers goods whose economic ownership is changed between a resident and a nonresident and that are not included in the following specific categories: goods under merchanting (see paragraphs 10.41– 10.49), nonmonetary gold (paragraphs 10.50–10.54), and parts of travel (paragraph 10.94), construction (10.101), and government goods and services n.i.e. (paragraph 10.173).


    Goods Account



General merchandise data are primarily compiled from International Merchandise Trade Statistics which are produced by the ABS using administrative by-product information from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. The coverage and timing of these statistics are adjusted, as required, to place them on a Balance of Payments basis. These adjustments are made using data from SPTE and other sources.

Selected timing adjustments are made to ensure transactions are recorded in the period in which ownership changed, rather than in the period in which the transaction was recorded in International Merchandise trade Statistics.

An example of a timing adjustment is:
  • Exports and imports of ships and aircraft adjusted to the date on which the business in Australia sell (exports) or takes delivery (imports) where this differs from the date the ship / aircraft crossed the customs frontier.

Goods that do not cross the customs frontier but do change ownership are estimated and added to the Balance of Payments as a coverage adjustment. Examples include;
  • Large value items of capital equipment such as aircraft, ships and oil rigs subject to finance lease that change ownership between an Australian resident and non-resident but do not cross the customs frontier.
  • Goods included in International Merchandise Trade Statistics that are not in-scope of Balance of Payments goods (eg. goods exported or imported for processing which do not change ownership).
  • Goods excluded from International Merchandise Trade Statistics, because they are below the value threshold specified for customs documentation.
  • The value of goods exported directly from off-shore installations without crossing Australia's custom's frontier.
  • Goods under merchanting.
  • Goods procured in ports.

    Items included in general merchandise
    Items excluded from general merchandie
    Timing of recording
    Valuation of general merchandise trade

This section contains the following subsection :
            Items included in general merchandise
            Items excluded from general merchandise
            Timing of recording
            Valuation of general merchandise trade

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