Latest release

Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia

Balance of payments statistics on current, capital and financial transactions and the international investment position statement

Reference period
December 2021
Released
1/03/2022
  • Next Release 31/05/2022
    Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia, March 2022
  • Next Release 6/09/2022
    Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia, June 2022
  • Next Release 6/12/2022
    Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia, September 2022
  • View all releases

Key statistics

  • The current account surplus, seasonally adjusted, fell $9,304m to $12,677m.
  • The capital and financial account deficit fell $8,916m to $6,470m.
  • Australia’s net IIP liability position was $809,396m at 31 December 2021.

Main features

Key figures (a)
 Sep 21 ($m)Dec 21 ($m)
Balance on current account (b)21,98112,677
Balance on goods and services (b)37,40031,001
Net primary income (b)-14,742-17,461
Capital and financial account-15,386-6,470
International investment position (c)878,625809,396

(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.

Changes in this issue

Revisions to seasonal estimates

This issue incorporates revisions to the seasonal series for Travel debits following re-analysis of the seasonal factors applied to these series which are currently calculated using the forward factor method to ensure that seasonal factors aren't distorted by COVID-19 impacts.  

From the August 2021 reference month a new benchmarking method was implemented to calculate travel debits. Please see article "Australian System of National Accounts historical revisions" for more details. The ABS has re-analysed and identified changes to the travel debits seasonal pattern. From the December quarter 2021 the seasonal series more accurately reflects the pattern of seasonality resulting from the new methodology, with revisions being applied to the historical seasonal series. There is no change to the published current price original series. 

Changes in forthcoming issues

Annual seasonal re-analysis

The seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of goods, services, primary income and secondary income will be revised in the March quarter 2022 issue of this publication as a result of the annual seasonal re-analysis. This re-analysis reviews the seasonal and trading day factors in more detail than is possible in the quarterly processing cycle and assesses the appropriateness of any prior corrections.

Current Account

Balance on current account in current prices, seasonally adjusted (a) - December quarter 2021
 Sep 21 ($m)Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 ($m)
Balance on current account21,98112,677-9,304
Balance on goods and services37,40031,001-6,399
Net goods36,11531,022-5,093
Net Services1,285-20-1,305
Net primary income-14,742-17,461-2,719
Net secondary income-677-862-185

(a) For sign conventions, see the Concepts section in the Explanatory notes in the Methodology.

Terms of trade

Australia's seasonally adjusted terms of trade on net goods and services for the December quarter 2021 fell 5.1% to 116.1, with an increase of 0.4% in the implicit price deflator (IPD) for goods and services credits and an increase of 5.8% in the IPD for goods and services debits.

(a) Seasonally adjusted, reference year 2019-20 = 100

Relationship between IPD, EPI and IPI

Differences between the IPD and International Trade Price Indexes can arise due to a number of methodological factors, including differences in pricing points, timing, coverage and weights.

Price comparison (QoQ % change)
 Implicit price deflators (a)Implicit price deflators (a)Chain Laspeyres Indexes (b)International Trade Price Indexes (b)
 Seasonally AdjustedOriginalOriginalOriginal
Goods exports0.3-0.50.33.5
Services exports0.80.81.3na
Goods imports5.25.46.15.8
Services imports10.612.412.7na

na not available
(a) Reference year 2019-20 = 100.
(b) Source: International Trade Price Indexes, Australia (cat. no. 6457.0).

(a) Reference year 2019-20 = 100
(b) Source: International Trade Price Indexes, Australia.

Balance on goods and services

In seasonally adjusted chain volume terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $11,197m, a fall of $818m on the revised September quarter 2021 surplus of $12,015m.

The fall in the balance on goods and services surplus of $0.8 billion (seasonally adjusted chain volume measure) is expected to detract 0.2 percentage points from the December quarter 2021 GDP quarterly movement. 

(a) Seasonally adjusted, reference year 2019-20.

Exports of goods (credits)

In seasonally adjusted terms at current prices, goods credits fell $948m (1.0%) to $121,541m, with volumes down 1.1% and prices up 0.2%.

Goods credits, price and volume change - seasonally adjusted - December quarter 2021
  Current prices ($m)Current prices (%)Chain volume measures (a) (%)Implicit price deflators (a)(b)(%)
Exports of goods-948-0.8-1.10.3
 Rural goods1,1227.72.94.6
 Non-rural goods-2,711-2.7-2.6-0.1
 Net exports of goods under merchanting3046.293.5-24.6
 Non-monetary gold61010.28.81.4

(a) Reference year 2019-20 = 100
(b) Movements in indexes are based on data to four decimal places

Rural goods

Rural goods, current price (seasonally adjusted)
  Sep 21 ($m)Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 (%)
Rural goods14,64715,7691,1228
 Meat and meat preparations3,9824,030481
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations3,5304,5821,05230
 Wool and sheepskins1,108832-276-25
 Other rural(a)6,0286,3252975

(a) For all time periods, estimates for sugar, sugar preparations and honey are included in Other non-rural.

Non-rural goods

Non-rural goods, current price (seasonally adjusted)
  Sep 21 ($m)Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 (%)
Non-rural goods101,82299,111-2,711-3
 Metal ores and minerals48,89635,093-13,803-28
 Coal, coke and briquettes17,91824,8896,97139
 Other mineral fuels17,91022,2994,38925
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)3,4863,264-222-6
 Machinery2,8082,712-96-3
 Transport equipment994938-56-6
 Other manufactures5,6125,548-64-1
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(a)3,5843,7061223
 Goods procured in ports by carriers612662508

(a) For all time periods, estimates for sugar, sugar preparations and honey are included in Other non-rural.

(a) Seasonally adjusted

Imports of goods (debits)

In seasonally adjusted terms at current prices, goods debits rose $4,145m (4.8%) to $90,519m, with volumes down 0.4% and prices up 5.2%.

Goods debits, price and volume change - seasonally adjusted - December quarter 2021
  Current prices ($m)Current prices (%)Chain volume measures (a) (%)Implicit price deflators (a)(b)(%)
Total Goods Imports4,1454.8-0.45.2
 Consumption goods-123-0.4-2.62.2
 Capital goods-68-0.3-3.93.8
 Intermediate and other merchandise goods4,35612.34.08.0
 Non-monetary gold-20-1.4-2.71.3

(a) Reference year 2019-20 = 100
(b) Movements in indexes are based on data to four decimal places

Consumption goods

Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep 21 ($m)Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 (%)
Consumption goods-27,749-27,626-123-
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption-4,088-4,014-74-2
 Household electrical items-1,645-1,602-43-3
 Non-industrial transport equipment-6,268-5,893-375-6
 Textiles, clothing and footwear-4,996-5,1111152
 Toys, books and leisure goods-1,890-1,986965
 Consumption goods n.e.s.-8,863-9,0201572

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.

Capital goods

Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep 21 ($m)Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 (%)
Capital goods-21,677-21,609-68-
 Machinery and industrial equipment-7,006-6,636-370-5
 ADP equipment-3,605-3,569-36-1
 Telecommunications equipment-3,265-3,5132488
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-1,242-2,03979764
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-3,828-3,9841564
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-2,730-1,867-863-32

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.
(b) From July 2008, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Civil aircraft and confidentialised items. For earlier periods, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Other merchandise goods.
(c) This component is not seasonally adjusted.
(d) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern.

Intermediate and other merchandise goods

Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep 21 ($m)Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 ($m)Sep 21 to Dec 21 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-35,522-39,8784,35612
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry-521-5765511
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.(b)-626-84922336
 Fuels and lubricants(c)-9,330-10,8491,51916
 Parts for transport equipment-3,650-3,604-46-1
 Parts for ADP equipment-233-2602712
 Other parts for capital goods-4,955-5,3053507
 Organic and inorganic chemicals-1,003-1,41040741
 Paper and paperboard-594-619254
 Textile yarn and fabrics-428-424-4-1
 Iron and steel-1,033-1,47243942
 Plastics-1,218-1,46825021
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.-11,569-12,8671,29811
 Other merchandise goods(d)(e)-345-153-192-56
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(c)-18-21317

(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory Notes.
(b) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern.
(c) Prior to September quarter 2019 this component is not seasonally adjusted.
(d) From July 2008, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Civil aircraft and confidentialised items. For earlier periods, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Other merchandise goods.
(e) From July 1981, this component is not seasonally adjusted.

Services

Services exports, price and volume change - seasonally adjusted - December quarter 2021
  Current prices ($m)Current prices (%)Chain volume measures (a) (%)Implicit price deflators (a)(b)(%)
Exports of services-576-4-51
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others-2-22--
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.117171
 Transport32412
 Travel-470-9-9-
 Other services-138-2-21

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Reference year 2019-20 = 100
(b) Movements in indexes are based on data to four decimal places

Services imports, price and volume change - seasonally adjusted - December quarter 2021
  Current prices ($m)Current prices (%)Chain volume measures (a) (%)Implicit price deflators (a)(b)(%)
Imports of services7295-511
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.-7-5-61
 Transport98721-832
 Travel9242401
 Other services-342-4-51

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Reference year 2019-20 = 100
(b) Movements in indexes are based on data to four decimal places

Income

The primary income deficit widened by $2,719m to $17,461m in the December quarter 2021.

(a) Trend series is not published from June Quarter 2019

(b) Seasonally adjusted

Primary income credits

In seasonally adjusted terms at current prices, income to residents (credits) rose $1,646m (8.6%) to $20,783m. The main components contributing to this rise were:

  • Direct investment assets - income on equity and investment fund shares; up $151m (1.9%)
  • Portfolio investment assets - investment income on equity and investment fund shares; up $904m (10.5%)
  • Portfolio investment assets - interest; up $544m (45.9%)

Primary income debits

In seasonally adjusted terms at current prices income to non-residents (debits) rose $4,367m (12.9%) to $38,245m. The main components contributing to this rise were:

  • Direct investment liabilities - income on equity and investment fund shares; up $6,740m (37.9%)
  • Portfolio investment liabilities - investment income on equity and investment fund shares; down $3,892m (40.1%)
  • Portfolio investment liabilities - interest; up $1,410m (40%)

Secondary income

In seasonally adjusted terms at current prices, the net secondary income deficit rose $185m to $862m in the December quarter 2021. 

Capital and Financial Account

The capital and financial account recorded a deficit of $6.5b during the December 2021 quarter, mainly driven by the financial account deficit of $6.3b. 

The financial account deficit was due to a net outflow of equity of $30.3b and a net inflow of debt of $24.0b.

 

Capital and financial account
   Mar-21Jun-21Sep-21Dec-21Qtr on Qtr
   ($m)($m)($m)($m)($m)
Capital account-182-260-160-180-20
 Acquisitions/disposals of non-produced non-financial assets6-4250-5
  Acquisitions/disposals of non-produced non-financial assets credits6950-5
  Acquisitions/disposals of non-produced non-financial assets debits0-51000
 Capital transfers-188-218-165-180-15
  Capital transfers credits00000
  Capital transfers debits-188-218-165-180-15
Financial account-17,863-26,582-15,226-6,2908,936
 Direct investment8,4374,824-848116,33624,817
  Direct investment assets5,2903,050-17,048-9,8207,228
  Direct investment liabilities3,1471,7748,56726,15517,588
 Portfolio investment-33,686-33,230-1,954-16,834-14,880
  Portfolio investment assets-12,380-49,454-39,494-60,751-21,257
  Portfolio investment liabilities-21,30616,22537,54043,9166,376
 Financial derivatives1,5122,469217-6,962-7,179
  Financial derivatives assets64,70251,70745,90635,756-10,150
  Financial derivatives liabilities-63,190-49,238-45,689-42,7182,971
 Other investment11,339-1,39912,3702,887-9,483
  Other investment assets-3,262-6,867-23,843-2,99720,846
  Other investment liabilities14,6005,46936,2135,885-30,328
 Reserve assets-5,465754-17,378-1,71715,661
 Net errors and omissions-523-978-4,230-2,4421,788

International Investment Position

Australia's net IIP liability position was $809.4b at 31 December 2021, a decrease of $69.2b on the revised 30 September 2021 figure of $878.6b. Australia's net foreign debt liability position decreased $2.9b to $1,204.9b. Australia's net foreign equity asset position increased $66.3b to $395.5b at 31 December 2021.

International investment position, by net foreign equity and net foreign debt
  Position at beginning of periodTransactionsPrice changesExchange rate changesOther adjustmentsPosition at end of period
  ($m)($m)($m)($m)($m)($m)
Net International Investment PositionJun-21927,038-26,5829,646-15,823-244894,035
Net International Investment PositionSep-21894,035-15,22613,158-14,330988878,625
Net International Investment PositionDec-21878,625-6,290-70,4239,165-1,682809,396
        
Net Foreign EquityJun-21-246,189-29,351319-22,241-68-297,530
Net Foreign EquitySep-21-297,530-19,82115,565-27,725359-329,153
Net Foreign EquityDec-21-329,153-30,327-47,16712,842-1,655-395,459
        
Net Foreign DebtJun-211,173,2272,7699,3276,418-1761,191,565
Net Foreign DebtSep-211,191,5654,596-2,40713,3956291,207,778
Net Foreign DebtDec-211,207,77824,037-23,256-3,677-271,204,855

Supplementary Information

Value adjustments

Goods credits data presented in this publication are based on information provided by exporters to the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs). At the time of initial reporting to Home Affairs, the final prices at which transactions take place are not known for some commodities. Final quantity and/or unit price information is updated progressively in international merchandise trade data as exporters revise the information provided to Home Affairs.

For commodities such as iron ore and coal, newly negotiated contract prices are not fully reflected in data first reported to Home Affairs. When additional information on quantity and/or unit price for these commodities is available, the ABS may adjust the data to reflect actual transaction values.

Iron ore adjustments are applied on an international merchandise trade basis at the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) level. Coal, coke and briquettes are adjusted on a balance of payments basis in original current price terms. When actual final transaction prices become available estimates are replaced with these data.

In most instances, transfer of ownership occurs when goods cross the customs frontier. In certain circumstances the ownership of large value capital expenditure items can occur prior to the items crossing the customs frontier. The ABS may adjust the relevant balance of payments series to record the timing when transfer of ownership was affected.

Exports on an international merchandise trade basis

Iron ore (in original terms)

  • Adjustments have been applied to iron ore lumps in the September quarter (-$165m) and December quarter 2021 (+$30m).
  • Adjustments have been applied to iron ore fines in the June quarter (+$20m), September quarter (-$370m), and December quarter 2021 (+$55m).
  • When actual final transaction prices become available estimates are replaced with these data.

Goods credits on a balance of payments basis

Coal (in original terms)

  • Adjustments have been applied to coal, coke and briquettes in the balance of payments series for the September quarter (+$5m) and the December quarter (+$1,080m) 2021.  All previous adjustments have been removed.

Capital expenditure (in original terms)

  • The balance of payments goods debits component capital goods n.e.s. includes an estimate of expenditure on capital goods that have changed ownership but have not yet crossed the customs frontier.

Other mineral fuels (in original terms)

  • Adjustments have been applied to other mineral fuels (+$950m) in the balance of payments series for the December quarter 2021.

Revisions

The following goods component has been revised since the release of the December 2021 issue of International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia.

  • Capital goods n.e.s. of good debits, revised in the December quarter 2021
  • Other mineral fuels of good credits, revised in the December quarter 2021. 

Summary of revisions since the last issue of this publication

Table 28 summarises revisions, in original current price terms, since the last issue of this publication.

Incorporation of the latest survey and administrative data has resulted in revisions to the balance of payments series back to the September quarter 2020. In original current price terms, these revisions have:

  • decreased the current account surplus for the September quarter 2020 by $59m
  • decreased the current account surplus for the December quarter 2020 by $34m
  • decreased the current account surplus for the March quarter 2021 by $216m
  • decreased the current account surplus for the June quarter 2021 by $282m
  • decreased the current account surplus for the September quarter 2021 by $1,766m

The International Investment Position (IIP) has been revised back to the September quarter 2020. These revisions have increased Australia's net IIP liability $18,476m to a net liability position of $878,625m at 30 September 2021. The financial account deficit has been revised down $6,445m to $15,226m at 30 September 2021.

Seasonally adjusted and trend series have been revised due to the incorporation of revised estimates and the incorporation of estimates for the latest quarter.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the revisions decreased the volume surplus on goods and services by $912m for the September quarter 2021. 

Data in this issue aligns with the data in the December quarter 2021 issue of Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0) to be released on 2 March 2022.

Economic conditions

CountryMSCI quarterly percentage change (a)(%)AUD exchange rate quarterly percentage change (b)(%)
Australia0.87na
United States of America9.710.69
United Kingdom4.580.28
Europe5.443.15
China-6.24-0.79
Japan-1.023.62
Singapore-4.42-0.15
India-0.280.67
New Zealand-3.481.35

OECD quarterly growth rates for select countries can be found through the following link: https://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=350
(a) MSCI data based on local currency except for Europe which is based on $USD. MSCI data from https://www.msci.com/ 
(b) Exchange rates data from RBA: https://www.rba.gov.au/statistics/historical-data.html#exchange-rates

Data downloads

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5302.0.