Exports record a historic high of $36 billion

Media Release

The April 2021 merchandise goods trade surplus, at $10.1 billion, is the third highest on record, according to preliminary trade data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Head of International Statistics, Andrew Tomadini said “Exports remained steady, increasing $12.6 million in April, but imports fell $1.9 billion, adding to the already strong surplus recorded in March 2021.

Increases in the exports of coal, petroleum, metalliferous ores and medicinal and pharmaceutical products were offset by declines in non-monetary gold and oil seeds. However, the continued strength of metalliferous ores has contributed to total exports for April 2021 reaching a record high $36 billion.

“Following strong exports in March 2021, metalliferous ores increased another 1 per cent in April 2021 to record a historic high of $16.5 billion, driving record high exports” said Mr Tomadini.

The increase in coal exports was driven by thermal coal, up $203 million, with an increase of $116 million to India. Australian coal exports to India have been steadily rising since mid-2020, following a substantial reduction in Chinese demand for Australian coal.

The decline in imports was led by non-monetary gold, down $455 million or 46 per cent, reversing most of the increase seen in March 2021. Other drivers included electrical machinery and articles of apparel, with articles of apparel moderating from its second highest value in March 2021.

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 April will be published on 3 June 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 media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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