Australia records a current account surplus of $14.1b

Media Release

Australia’s current account surplus increased by $13.4 billion to $14.1 billion (seasonally adjusted, current prices) in the December quarter 2022, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The September quarter 2022 current account balance was revised from a $2.3 billion deficit to a $0.8 billion surplus.

Balance of Payments components

The increase in the current account surplus reflected a rise in the trade surplus and a decline in the net primary income deficit. The trade surplus reached $40.9 billion, the second highest on record. The net primary income deficit fell to $26.4 billion following the record high deficit of $30.4 billion in September quarter 2022.

Grace Kim, head of international statistics, said: “Australia’s current account surplus was supported by sustained high commodity prices over 2022, with the value of mining commodity exports reaching over $400 billion for the year.”

Exports of goods and services increased 3.0 per cent in the latest quarter, driven by rises in metal ores and minerals as constraints eased during the quarter; and travel services as the number of international students and visitors arriving in Australia increased.

Imports of goods and services declined 3.1 percent. Fuels and lubricants as well as freight transport services drove the decrease, with falls in both prices and volumes for fuels and lubricants following the record level of imports in September quarter 2022. Imports of freight transport services fell as prices started to stabilise with the easing of supply chain issues that impacted global shipping throughout the year.

(a) seasonally adjusted estimates at current prices

“The primary income deficit remained at historically high levels, narrowing to $26.4 billion, due to high operating profits on direct investment off the back of continued strength in commodity prices,” Ms Kim said.

(a) seasonally adjusted estimates at current prices

The financial account recorded a deficit of $9.9 billion, a turnaround of $23.1 billion, driven by a net outflow of equity ($28.2 billion) partly offset by a net inflow of debt ($18.3 billion).

Deposit-taking corporations contributed $22.9b to the net inflow of debt. Australian banks sought offshore funding as they prepare to repay funds borrowed through the RBA’s Term Funding Facility.

Contribution to GDP

The rise in the trade surplus of $6.1 billion (seasonally adjusted chain volume measure) is expected to contribute 1.1 percentage points to the December quarter 2022 GDP quarterly movement.

International Investment Position

Australia's net international investment liability position was $856.8 billion this quarter, a decrease of $3.1 billion. Australia's foreign liabilities declined by more than the fall in Australia’s foreign assets.

Australia's net foreign equity increased $6.7 billion to an asset position of $306.1 billion. Australia's net foreign debt increased by $3.6 billion to a liability position of $1,162.8 billion.

Media notes

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