The International Accounts Program provides statistics on Australia’s Balance of Payments, International Investment Position, Merchandise Trade and International Trade in Services. The statistics are compiled from a range of surveys and administrative data sources with merchandise trade statistics derived from records lodged with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
The main users of the International Accounts data are economic and industry analysts and policy advisers in Australian government agencies (in particular, the Treasury, the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Productivity Commission, Austrade and the Departments of: Foreign Affairs and Trade; Prime Minister and Cabinet; and Resources, Energy and Tourism), private sector economic analysts and dealers, academics, the media and international organisations.
The statistics are used to: analyse Australia’s external performance; formulate and evaluate macroeconomic policy (including trade policy, trade treaties and foreign investment policy); analyse trends in income, capital flows and patterns of investment into and out of the economy; and undertake international comparisons. The international accounts are inputs to the Australian National Accounts, providing the external transactions accounts and the external assets and liabilities components of the national balance sheet.
The program produces a range of statistical publications, classifications and methodological information. The key statistical publication is the quarterly Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (ABS cat. no. 5302.0) which presents a comprehensive set of international accounts statistics including chain volume measures for trade in goods and services and seasonally adjusted data for the current account.
Monthly information on exports and imports of goods and services, on a balance of payments basis, is released in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (ABS cat. no. 5368.0). The publication includes a selection of tables showing merchandise exports and imports data on a recorded trade basis. The program also produces the Australian Harmonised Export Commodity Classification (ABS cat. no. 1233.0). Updates to the classification, if required, are scheduled for release six monthly.
International Merchandise Imports, Australia (ABS cat. no. 5439.0) provides summary information on Australia’s merchandise imports for the latest reference month, on a recorded trade basis. Very detailed merchandise trade export and import statistics classified by commodity, country of trading partner, state, industry of origin and broad economic category can be obtained from ABS Information Consultancy Services.
International trade in services data by partner country and state are released annually, on a calendar year basis, in International Trade in Services by Country, by State and by Detailed Services Category, Calendar Year (ABS cat. no. 5368.0.55.004) and on a financial year basis in International Trade in Services by Country, by State and by Detailed Services Category, Financial Year (ABS cat. no. 5368.0.55.003). Calendar year international investment position, financial account and primary income data by partner country, and international investment position and financial account data by industry for direct investment are released annually in International Investment Position Australia: Supplementary Statistics (ABS cat. no. 5352.0).
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- improve the processes and data sources used to maintain survey coverage for the Survey of International Trade in Services (SITS) - due December 2013
- conduct and release the results from a Survey of Foreign Currency Exposure (Hedging) in respect of March 2013 - due December 2013
- improve the processes and data sources used to maintain survey coverage for the Survey of International Investment (SII) - due September 2014
- review sources, methodology, and content of Characteristics of Australian Exporters (cat. no. 5368.0.55.006) - due May 2015
- implement the final Extended Balance of Payments Services Classification contained in the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services - due December 2015.
Judy Henson, Assistant Statistician, International and Government Finance Accounts Branch