|Dec 21 ($m)||Mar 22 ($m)|
|Balance on current account (b)||13,235||7,532|
|Balance on goods and services (b)||29,148||28,229|
|Net primary income (b)||-15,167||-20,025|
|Capital and financial account||-11,327||-2,921|
|International investment position (c)||809,742||821,322|
(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 with significant and prolonged impacts from COVID-19 will be calculated using the forward factor method.
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
Price Index Differences
The ABS is aware that since December quarter 2021 there have been differences between the Export Price Index (EPI) and Implicit Price Deflator (IPD) for Coal (Coal, coke & briquettes) and LNG (Other mineral fuels). With the current price volatility of bulk commodities and ongoing global uncertainty, the March quarter National Accounts and Balance of Payments volumes for Coal and LNG exports have been compiled using movements in the quantity data reported on Customs declarations. The ABS is undertaking further analysis on Coal and LNG export prices and will communicate the outcomes of the analysis in the next International Trade Price Index publication.
Review of seasonal adjustment
In early 2020 the ABS advised that the method used to produce seasonally adjusted estimates would be changed from the ‘concurrent adjustment’ method to the ‘forward factors’ method for series with significant and prolonged impacts from COVID-19. Given the ongoing disruption during the COVID-19 period and continuing use of forward factors, extraordinary annual reviews of seasonally adjusted series are progressively being undertaken across the ABS statistics programs.
The extraordinary annual review process assesses each series individually to determine how observations from 2020 and 2021 should be treated and determine the most appropriate approach (concurrent adjustment or forward factors) for estimating seasonal adjustment factors in the immediate future. Revisions arising from the annual review are relatively minor for most series, but series which have used forward factors are likely to have larger revisions because the seasonal factor estimates are annually updated to incorporate information from the previous year's observations.
The outcome of the review for Balance of Payments statistics is that the forward factor method will continue to be used for the Travel Services (credits and debits), Transport - passenger (credits and debits) and State Services (credits and debits). New forward factors have been calculated for the next 12 months and will be used from the March 2022 reference quarter.
Further information can be found here.