Increase in imports driven by road vehicles

Media Release
Released
24/03/2021

Media Release

Australia recorded a goods trade surplus of $8.1 billion, the first time in history Australia’s trade surplus recorded three consecutive months above $8 billion, according to preliminary trade data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Imports in February grew $577 million (2 per cent), driven by an increase in road vehicles of $705 million (24 per cent).

Head of International Statistics at the ABS, Andrew Tomadini said “A number of commodities drove February’s road vehicle increase. Most notable were electric and hybrid vehicles. Electric vehicle imports grew $104 million to the largest value on record, while hybrid vehicle imports grew $95 million.”

Exports in February grew $502 million (2 per cent), mainly driven by non-ferrous metals, meat, petroleum, coal, cereals and textile fibres. Offsetting this increase was a large decline in metalliferous ores of -$833 million (-6 per cent).

“February 2021 monthly exports for cereals was the highest on record, $1.3 billion or 4 per cent of total exports. The main driver of the increase was wheat and meslin, up $152 million (20 per cent) as Australia’s two largest markets for wheat, Indonesia and Vietnam both saw increases. Vietnam received its largest wheat export on record from Australia, up 58 per cent to $116 million”.

The decrease in metalliferous ores was driven by a $1,246m (-12 per cent) decrease in exports to China, the bulk of which was iron ore, down $1,122m (-12 per cent).  

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 February will be published on 1 April 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 you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.