Falling global demand slows Australian export prices

Media Release

The Export Price Index fell 3.1 per cent in the September quarter 2023, and fell 10.7 per cent during the year, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Contributing to the decline were prices for Australian rural exports. These have fallen for the third consecutive quarter, down 7.1 per cent for the September quarter and 16.8 per cent annually.

Michelle Marquardt, ABS head of prices statistics, said: “The annual fall in rural exports is the largest in this series since the December quarter 2009. Good seasonal conditions outside of Australia have improved global supply for a range of key agricultural exports, including coarse grains, oilseeds, beef and sheep meat, driving prices downward.”

Export prices were also impacted by price reductions for crude fertilisers and minerals (-29.0 per cent for the quarter), driven by falls in lithium export prices. The rapid increase in global supplies has surpassed demand for electric vehicle battery production, pushing prices downward from historical highs.

Prices also fell this quarter for exports of coal, coke and briquettes (-11.3 per cent).

“Strong falls in prices were seen early in the quarter, particularly for thermal coal as global supply conditions improved. Prices rebounded in September, however, when the energy market reacted to rises in crude oil and an increase in demand,” said Ms Marquardt.

The impact of rising crude oil prices, reduced demand and increased supply were also seen in the Import Price Index. This index rose 0.8 per cent in the September quarter 2023 and fell 2.4 per cent during the year.

“Petroleum and petroleum products were the key driver of the rise in import prices this quarter, up 9.4 per cent, as production cuts from major oil-producing nations drove global prices upward. However, price pressures for imported capital and consumption goods slowed, partially offsetting the rise in petroleum prices,” Ms Marquardt said.

Overall, the price of both imported capital and consumption goods (including machinery and industrial equipment, telecommunications equipment, and food and beverages) were flat in the September quarter despite a weaker Australian dollar.

"Annual price reviews for large machinery and equipment imports typically occur in the March or June quarter. There was little evidence of any pressure coming from inflationary costs being passed on by manufacturers in the September quarter. There were also signs of less consumer demand for a variety of household goods and strong global supply conditions for food and beverages,” Ms Marquardt said.

More information on the Export and Import Price Indexes can be found in International Trade Price Indexes, Australia. For information on household inflation, see Consumer Price Index, Australia.

Media notes

  • The International Trade Price Indexes contains indexes measuring changes in prices of merchandise landed in Australia (Import Price Index) and shipped from Australia (Export Price Index) each quarter.
  • When reporting ABS data, you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
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