Australia achieves record month for iron ore exports

Media Release

Australia has recorded a goods trade surplus above $8 billion, as imports and exports both increased 15 per cent in March, according to preliminary trade data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Sean Crick, ABS Head of International Statistics, said “Iron ore is the foundation of Australia’s export strength, accounting for 39 per cent of all March exports”.

A record $14 billion of iron ore was exported in March, up $2.5 billion from February. Copper ore also made a significant contribution, up $286 million to $745 million, the third highest copper ore export month on record. 

“Much of the increase in copper ore was price-driven. Green technology is copper-intensive, driving recent demand, with March the second month on record that Australian copper ore exports have obtained a unit value above $4.50 a kilogram”, Mr Crick said. 

The increase in imports was led by non-monetary gold and petroleum. Non-monetary gold increased $529 million (117 per cent), most of which was imported from the United Kingdom and the United States of America. 

Petroleum imports were up $459 million (21 per cent), led by diesel imports from China, as local refinery closures increase demand for imports. 

The ABS would like to thank all those who contributed to this data

Media notes

•    The estimates in this publication are on an original, current price (merchandise trade) basis only, not a Balance of Payments (BoP) basis. This means that the data is on a customs basis, whereas BoP data are derived from the customs data by applying adjustments for factors such as valuation, coverage, timing and residence. The official monthly estimate for March will be published on 4 May 2021 in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia. Future preliminary international merchandise trade estimates, will be published approximately two weeks prior to the advertised release date of International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia.
•    When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source. 
•    For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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