Record iron ore drives exports growth

Media Release

The total value of exports and imports of goods both increased in June 2020 following declines in May and April 2020, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) preliminary international trade in goods figures.

The preliminary figures show that the value of exports increased by $2.35 billion or 8 per cent driven by strong exports of iron ore.

From May to June 2020, exports of iron ore (lumps and fines) increased by $757 million or 8 per cent to $9.92 billion, the highest export value on record. This pushed the total exports of iron ore for 2019-20 to over $100 billion representing more than a quarter of Australia’s total goods exported for this period. China was the main market for Australian iron ore exports accounting for 87 per cent of all iron ore exported in 2019-20.

Adding to the increase in exports in June 2020 were non-monetary gold, up $916 million or 67 per cent to $2.29 billion, and petroleum, up $208 million or 47 per cent to $651 million.

The value of goods imported rose by $1.29 billion or 6 per cent driven by increases in imports of petroleum, up $341 million or 29 per cent to $1.51 billion. This was the first increase in petroleum imports since December 2019.

After a decline in May, articles of apparel, including items of personal protective equipment (PPE), also increased significantly, up $332 million or 65 per cent to $843 million. Electrical machinery and appliances was up $271 million or 19 per cent to a record high of $1.69 billion.

There was also a small increase in imports of road vehicles in June, up $54 million or 3 per cent after the significant fall experienced in May 2020. While the June 2020 road vehicle imports of $1.64 billion is an increase on May 2020, it is 44 per cent less than June 2019 levels.

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 June will be published on 4 August 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 you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source. 
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