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Table 1 Number of merchandise exporters and value of exports, by size of business
Industry of exporter
While the Mining industry made up only 1% of the number of exporters, they continue to account for over half (57%) of the exports value. The second most dominant industry was Manufacturing, contributing 24% of the exports value.
The Mining industry also accounted for most ($19b) of the increase in value of exports from 2016-17, up $24b overall. This increase was influenced by continued demand for Australia’s bulk commodities, such as coal and iron ore, and the expansion of multiple liquefied natural gas projects.
Despite the increase in value, the number of Mining exporters remained steady. This led to the average exports value per Mining exporter increasing from $346m to $387m.
By count, Wholesale trade was the largest industry making up 26% (13,858) of all merchandise exporters.
Table 2 Industry of exporter, by value and number of merchandise exporters
Transactions and value ranges
The Australian merchandise export sector continues to be dominated by a small number of businesses.
296 businesses exported merchandise worth $100m or more and together they accounted for 85% of the total export value ($266b).
91% of the total export value was attributed to businesses who undertook 51 or more export transactions in the 2017-18 year. However, these businesses accounted for just 10% of all exporters.
Table 3 Number of export transactions, by number of merchandise exporters and value of exports
State of origin of commodity
In line with the overall increase in value in 2017-18, exports of merchandise from all States of origin increased from the previous year. Of the total value increase, $17b (72%) originated from exports of commodities from Western Australia and Queensland, the states with the largest Mining export values.
Western Australia and Queensland also continued to be the most dominant States of origin for exported merchandise overall, when combined accounting for 65% of the total value.
Table 4 Value of merchandise exports, by state of origin of commodity
Main state of business location
In 2017-18, the most common main state of exporter location was New South Wales (14,754 exporters), followed by Victoria (13,274). Together, over half (53%) of Australian merchandise exporters are located in New South Wales and Victoria.
For most industries, New South Wales is the state where the highest number of merchandise exporters are located. The Mining industry is an exception, with Mining exporters most commonly located in Western Australia (42%) and Queensland (22%).
Country of final destination
In 2017-18, China continued to be Australia's largest export destination, with $106 billion worth of exports (34%). This was $11 billion more than in 2016-17 (up 11%).
By merchandise exporter count, New Zealand was the most dominant contributor, with 35% (18,774) of all exporters, exporting at least once to New Zealand in 2017-18.
Overall, the average export value per exporter was $5.9m. However the average differed considerably across destination countries. The countries with the largest average export value per exporter were Japan ($13.7m) and China ($13.6m).
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