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Sources and methods - Quarterly

Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods
Reference period
2020-21 financial year

10.138    The sources and methods for the export and import of goods and services for both current price estimates and volume estimates are discussed in the tables that follow:

Table 10.58 Quarterly exports and imports — Goods
ItemComment
Current price estimates

 

 

The primary source for exports and imports general merchandise data is the ABS International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) which is compiled using administrative by-product information from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

The coverage, timing and valuation of these statistics are adjusted, as required, to place them on a balance of payments basis. These adjustments are made using data from the Survey of International Transport Enterprises (SITE) and other sources including the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Survey of International Trade in Services (SITS).

The following adjustments are made:

  • Timing adjustments - to ensure transactions are recorded in the period in which ownership changed, rather than in the period in which the transaction was recorded in IMTS. For example:
    • exports and imports of ships and aircraft adjusted to the date on which the business in Australia sells (exports) or takes delivery (imports) where this differs from the date they crossed the customs frontier.
  • Coverage adjustments - goods that do not cross the customs frontier but do change ownership. Examples include:
    • large value items of capital equipment such as aircraft, ships and oil rigs subject to finance lease that change ownership between an Australian resident and non-resident but do not cross the customs frontier;
    • goods included in IMTS that are not in-scope of Balance of Payments goods (e.g. goods exported or imported for processing which do not change ownership);
    • goods not captured in IMTS because they are below the low value threshold specified for customs documentation (full import declarations, postal packages and self-assessed clearances);
    • goods exported directly from off-shore installations without crossing Australia's custom's frontier;
    • goods under merchanting; and
    • goods procured in ports.
Volume estimates
 Exports

 

 

The chain volume measures for export commodities are obtained by deflating current price values using export price indexes. The processes of chain volume compilation can be read in detail in the ABS publication, Spotlight on National Accounts Australia:  Measuring Chain Volumes for Exports of Goods & Services, July 2011.

The ASNA uses the price indexes underlying those published in  International Trade Price Indexes, Australia.

The chain volume measures of coverage and timing adjustments, that are made to bring exports as recorded in the IMTS onto the required national accounts/balance of payments basis, are also derived using relevant implicit price deflators from  International Trade Price Indexes, Australia.

 Imports

 

 

All volume measures are derived by deflating current price values using detailed price indexes.

All but two of the components are deflated using price indexes derived from those underlying the price indexes published in  International Trade Price Indexes, Australia.

The exceptions are:

  • computer equipment - the above-mentioned computer equipment price index from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis; and
  • sea transport equipment – a Japanese overseas price index for sea transport equipment adjusted for exchange rate changes.
Table 10.59 Quarterly exports and imports — services
ItemComment
Current price estimates
 Transport services

 

 

The principal sources of information on exports and imports of transportation services are the International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS); the Cost, Insurance and Freight/Free on Board model (CIF/FOB); and the Survey of International Trade in Services (SITS).

The CIF/FOB model is used to compile estimates of imports of freight services with a minor adjustment made for resident freight operators from the SITS.

The SITS is used to compile all other components of transportation services. However, this does experience a lag of one quarter, so projections and other sources are used in the interim.

 Travel services

 

 

The standard component breakdown of travel services is between business and personal travel. Services acquired by persons undertaking study or medical care while outside their territory of residence are also encompassed in travel services.

Personal travel is separated into two major subcomponents:

  • Education related travel – estimates are compiled using the Education travel credits model in regards to exports, using student visa data supplied by Home Affairs, net expenditure supplied by Tourism Research Australia and fee estimates supplied by the Department of Education, and the Travel debits model in regards to imports; and
  • all other personal travel (which includes health related travel) – exports are compiled from the Travel credits model while imports are compiled from the Travel debits model, both using the ABS overseas arrivals and departures information and net expenditure supplied by Tourism Research Australia.

Business Travel – exports and imports are sourced directly from the Travel credits and Travel debits model respectively.  Both use the ABS overseas arrivals and departures information for number of short-term travellers by reason and net expenditure supplied by Tourism Research Australia.

Each of these models provides monthly and quarterly estimates, however data sources are lagged so current month estimates are a projection (nowcast) and data can be projections for up to seven months for credits and ten months for debits. 

 Other services

 

 

The principal source for estimates of exports and imports of other services is the SITS, which covers the following services:

  • Construction services;
  • Charges for the use of intellectual property;
  • Telecommunication, computer and information services;
  • Other business services; and
  • Personal, cultural and recreation services.

The following outlines the main components of other services:

  • Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others – uses IMTS data captured through customs records;
  • Maintenance and repair – uses IMTS data captured through customs records;
  • Insurance services – based on a data model (Non-life Insurance Model), of which the main input is the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority’s (APRA) Quarterly General Insurance Statistics;
  • Pension services – based on data from APRA, the Tax office and the ABS’s Financial account data;
  • Financial services directly measured – the majority are measured using the SITS;
  • Financial services not directly measured – are derived primarily from two data models, FISIM and the Survey of International Investment (SII). FISIM is used to estimate financial intermediation services indirectly charged on loans and deposits by financial corporations. SII collects information on international investment activity into and out of Australia; and
  • Government services – the Department of Defence provides data on services utilised by foreign bases in Australia; periodic data about foreign embassies is collected from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and used to estimate embassies' imports of services and Home Affairs provide data on visa application charges for credits. Data inputs are lagged by up to twelve months.
Volume estimates
 Exports

 

 

Volume measures are obtained mainly by deflation of the current price values, using relevant ABS price indexes underlying those published in:

 Imports

 

 

In most cases, volume measures are derived by deflating current price values using consumer price indexes from overseas countries, adjusted for exchange rate changes.

In other cases, special purpose price indexes, implicit price deflators and ABS price indexes from Consumer Price Index, Australia and International Trade Price Indexes, Australia are used.