Value of imports up 11 per cent in July 2020

Media Release

The total value of goods imported increased by $2.5 billion or 11 per cent in July 2020, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) preliminary international trade in goods figures.

Mr Branko Vitas, Program Manager for the ABS’ International Statistics Branch, said “From June to July 2020, imports of road vehicles increased by $792 million or 49 per cent while imports of petroleum increased $244 million or 15 per cent over the same period.

“The large monthly increases in imports of road vehicles and petroleum follow low values in May and June 2020 at the height of Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions. However, despite the month-on-month increases, imports of road vehicles and petroleum remain low by historical standards, down 25 per cent and 42 per cent respectively when compared to July 2019”.

Adding to the overall monthly increase in imports were: transport equipment (including aircraft); non-monetary gold; and imports of commodities associated with personal protective equipment, including face masks.

While imports increased, the value of goods exported in July 2020 declined by $2.0 billion or 6 per cent driven by declines in exports of resource commodities including iron ore, copper, and coal. The decline in exports of iron ore follows high values across 2020 including a record high export value of $9.9 billion (revised) in June 2020. Partially offsetting these declines, exports of non-monetary gold were up 55 per cent to $3.5 billion, a record high for this series.

Despite decreasing in July 2020, Australian exports of goods remain strong by historical standards, with Australia recording a goods trade surplus for the month. This follows 31 consecutive months of surpluses.

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 July will be published on 3 September 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 on 1300 175 070 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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