|Sep Qtr 2020 ($m)||Dec Qtr 2020 ($m)|
|Balance on current account (b)||10,706||14,523|
|Balance on goods and services (b)||13,694||18,124|
|Net primary income (b)||-2,723||-3,167|
|Capital and financial account||-5,729||-9,999|
|International investment position (c)||949,660||947,218|
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Trend series is not published from June Quarter 2019
(b) Seasonally adjusted
(c) Levels at end of period
(a) Seasonally adjusted estimates at current prices.
COVID-19 in this publication
Suspension of trend estimates
The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour of international trade activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent changes to regular patterns in international trade that will occur during this time. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this unusual event, they would provide a misleading view of underlying international trade activity.
It may be some time before the underlying trend in international trade activity can be accurately estimated. The trend series has therefore been suspended from June quarter 2019 and will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in international trade.
Seasonal adjustment and COVID-19
International Accounts uses the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time new data becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From March quarter 2020, seasonal factors for series that have been notably impacted by COVID-19 will be calculated using data up to and including December quarter 2019, then projected from March quarter 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.
The ABS has advised users that it had moved to using forward factors for seasonal analysis of a number of series, including Travel Services. Current ABS (and international practice) requires at least three years of data to assess whether a change in the seasonal pattern has occurred. Should COVID-19 result in a long-term change to the seasonal pattern then revisions to these series may occur in the future. The ABS will consult with users on any future methods changes to seasonal adjustment and potential revisions.
For more information on interpreting seasonally adjusted estimates of International travel services please see the May 2020 feature article International Travel Services time series which outlines the matter in greater detail.