Iron ore exports hit record high in October

Media Release

Iron ore exports reached a record high of $10.9 billion, accounting for 36 per cent of Australia’s total exports, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Total exports increased by $1.8 billion, or 6 per cent, to $30.5 billion in October 2020. “The primary driver for the increase in exports was an $833 million (7 per cent) increase in exports of metalliferous ores, most of which was iron ore headed for our largest trading partner, China,” said ABS Head of International Statistics, Branko Vitas.

Increases were also seen in gas, up $360 million (18 per cent) and meat, up $217 million (21 per cent). Coal also increased, driven by thermal coal, mostly used for electricity generation.

Imports increased by $2 billion, or 8 per cent, to $25.7 billion in October. The increase in the value of goods imported was driven by road vehicles, up $393 million (13 per cent), telecommunications and sound equipment, up $359 million (28 per cent) and miscellaneous manufactured articles, up $220 million (15 per cent).

“We continue to see a rise in road vehicle imports,” said Mr Vitas “and with the release of new mobile phone models, and games and gaming consoles, increases in these products have driven imports up in October”.

This publication forms part of the suite of products made available by the ABS to help the community and governments understand the impact of, and economic responses to the coronavirus, COVID-19.

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 October will be published on 3 December 2020 in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat no. 5368.0). 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 (cat no. 5368.0).
  • 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 or (8.30am - 5pm Monday - Friday AEDT). Subscribe to our email notification service and get media releases or products sent to you on release.
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