5489.0 - International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2015  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/11/2015   
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10.24 The ABS website offers general information about the ABS and its services, publication release advices, media releases and basic statistics. The ABS website address is www.abs.gov.au.

10.25 There are many ways of accessing international merchandise trade statistics on the ABS website.

  • For a first time user, the statistics can be accessed by clicking on the 'First Visit' tab to view or access a range of services. The 'Economic statistics' link provides access to key statistics about a range of economy-related topics and trade statistics can be accessed through the 'Foreign Trade' link.
  • Alternatively, the 'Topics @ a Glance' on the ABS website provides access to key statistics about a range of ABS topics. Australia's international merchandise trade statistics can be accessed from the 'Foreign Trade' link under the 'Economy' tab. This page contains the latest updates to international merchandise trade statistics, links to the main features of international merchandise trade publications and other relevant ABS articles, general information for interpreting trade statistics, related sources of information and contact details.
  • For more advanced users, the search window can be used to access particular subjects or a topic of interest.


10.26 International merchandise trade statistics are published in:
  • International Merchandise Imports, Australia (cat. no. 5439.0) which presents total imports for the reference month together with commodity aggregates at the 1 digit level of the SITC. The main objective of this publication is to publicly advise the availability of monthly imports data so that the detailed information can be disseminated to users. This publication will be discontinued following the December 2015 issue to be released on 19 January 2016. The data will continue to be available two weeks later in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0).
  • International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0) which presents monthly estimates of Australia's international trade in goods and services on a balance of payments basis (including seasonally adjusted data) and merchandise import and export statistics on an international merchandise trade basis. International merchandise trade data are adjusted for coverage and timing differences to put them on a balance of payments basis. In this publication, merchandise imports and exports are provided at the 1 and 2 digit SITC level with selected commodities at the 3 digit level. Once this publication is released detailed exports and imports information can be disseminated to users.
  • Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0) which presents merchandise exports and imports by chain volume measures and implicit price deflators at the 1 and 2 digit SITC level. Merchandise imports by chain volume measures and implicit price deflators are also presented using the BoPBEC classification.
  • International Trade: Supplementary Information, Financial Year (cat. no. 5368.0.55.003) and International Trade: Supplementary Information, Calendar Year (cat. no. 5368.0.55.004) which presents international merchandise trade exports and imports by selected country totals for 6 monthly blocks. Also presented in this publication are international trade in services credits and debits for countries and country groups, state detail, detailed travel services by country and educated-related travel credits by education industry by type of expenditure.

10.27 These publications are available electronically on the ABS website together with Excel time series data and data cubes. The spreadsheets contain a variety of commodity data including export and/or import totals by country or state. All the time series, many of which are for periods from January 1988, can be downloaded free of charge. A list of the international merchandise trade time series available on the ABS website is provided in Table 1 in Appendix 10 in the 'Downloads' tab. Also included with the publications are analysis and explanatory information about the statistics.

10.28 In addition to the above mentioned publications ABS also produces:
10.29 Table 2 in Appendix 10 in the 'Downloads' tab, lists the international merchandise trade discontinued publications (by catalogue number) available on the ABS website and a description of the types of tables included.


10.30 A number of feature articles are available on the ABS website and can be accessed through Papers and Articles. These provide information on changes or highlight particular issues related to international merchandise trade statistics. An article which is updated every few years analyses the major currencies used in export and import transactions. It was last published in the June 2012 issue of International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0). Other examples include articles outlining the results of bilateral reconciliation studies undertaken with some of Australia's major trading partners. A range of information papers are also published on the ABS website. These provide information on issues or changes affecting the understanding and use of international merchandise trade statistics.

10.31 Broad level international merchandise trade statistics, commentary and conceptual information is also included in the Year Book Australia (cat. no. 1301.0), available on the ABS website.


10.32 The way data is disseminated in the ABS is currently undergoing change. ABS.Stat is a free web tool that presents ABS statistics in a searchable, flexible and dynamic way. It increases the usability of ABS data by providing a versatile interface and integration of data across a range of aggregated ABS statistics. Currently, ABS international merchandise trade statistics are available on the website as static time series spreadsheets and data cubes with accompanying analysis and comments. In contrast, ABS.Stat provides a direct method of accessing ABS data through the use of dynamic tables and search functionality. ABS.Stat also provides web services in Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) format for automated machine-to-machine data exchange.

10.33 At the time of writing, ABS.Stat is publicly released as a beta version with a limited range of ABS statistics. It is available on the ABS BetaWorks website. This tool is continually being improved so interested users should refer to the ABS website for further developments.