This release provides preliminary estimates for Australian international merchandise trade for the month of April 2020 to help measure the economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). These estimates are compiled from administrative data (customs records) sourced from the Department of Home Affairs and are subject to revision. The final April monthly estimates will be published in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0) on 4 June 2020.
Preliminary April key points and figures
Preliminary trade in goods (original, current prices)
- The value of exports and imports of goods both decreased in April 2020, from March 2020, although demand for resource commodities remained strong.
- The preliminary figures show that exports fell $4b or 12% from the revised record high figure in March 2020 of $35,797m. Despite the drop, exports remain historically high.
- The value of goods imported fell $1b or 5% on March 2020. However, imports from China increased after decreases were observed in early 2020.
Preliminary international trade in goods summary (a)
|Feb 2019||Mar 2019||Apr 2019||Feb 2020||Mar 2020||Apr 2020||Mar to Apr 2020|
|Original current prices|
|Total goods||29 182||31 254||31 142||27 612||35 797||31 443||- 4 354||- 12|
|Rural goods||3 889||4 448||4 043||3 726||4 441||4 121||- 320||- 7|
|Non-rural goods (b)||23 273||25 413||25 433||22 786||27 783||25 442||- 2341||- 8|
|Non-monetary gold (c)||2 019||1 393||1 665||1 100||3 574||1 880||- 1694||- 47|
|Total goods||23 349||24 022||24 882||21 573||24 448||23 121||- 1 327||- 5|
|Capital goods (d)||5 906||5 997||6 372||4 999||6 196||5 781||- 415||- 7|
|Consumption goods||7 581||7 339||7 680||6 986||7 358||7 522||164||2|
|Intermediate & other goods||9 433||10 236||10 421||9 037||9 830||9 202||- 628||- 6|
|Non-monetary gold||430||450||410||551||1 064||615||- 449||- 42|
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
a. Caution should be used when interpreting preliminary estimates as they may be different to the final published estimates, and are subject to revision.
b. For all time periods, confidentialised export items are included in Non-rural goods, whether or not this reflects their true nature.
c. Includes Gold coin.
d. For all time periods, confidentialised import items are included in Capital goods, whether or not this reflects their true nature.
Preliminary exports (original, current prices)
- Exports of goods in April 2020 decreased from the revised March 2020 estimate of $35,797m by $4,353m (-12%) to $31,443m.
- The decrease in the value of exports in April 2020 follows the record high exports value observed in March 2020.
- The decrease in April 2020 was driven by exports of Non-rural goods, down $2,341m (-8%); and Non-monetary gold, down $1,694m (-47%).
- Within Non-rural goods, there were significant decreases in exports of Metalliferous Ores (including Iron ore), down $456m (-4%); Coal, down $412m (-8%); and Petroleum, down $292m (-31%).
- The decrease in exports of Non-monetary gold was driven by a drop in exports to the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, following significant exports to both of those countries in March 2020.
- Despite the month-on-month fall in exports, Australian exports remain strong due largely to ongoing demand for Australian resource commodities, in particular Iron ore from major trading partners across Asia, and Gas.
- Year-on-year, exports increased $301m (1%) when compared to April 2019.
Preliminary imports (original, current prices)
- Imports of goods in April 2020 decreased from the revised March 2020 merchandise trade estimate of $24,448m by $1,327m (-5%) to $23,121m.
- This decrease in the value of imports was driven by imports of Intermediate and other goods, down $628m (-6%); Non-monetary gold, down $449m (-42%); and Capital goods, down $415m (-7%)
- Within Intermediate and other goods, there were significant decreases in imports of Petroleum; Medicinal & pharmaceutical products; and Power generating machinery.
- Within Capital Goods the largest decreases were in Other transport equipment (including aircraft); and Telecommunications and sound equipment both following strong import values in March 2020. Offsetting these decreases, imports of Office and ADP machinery increased by more than 40%.
- While imports decreased overall, imports from China continued to rebound in April 2020 after decreases were observed at the beginning of 2020.
- Year-on-year, imports in April 2020 decreased by $1,762m (-7%) on April 2019. This decrease is predominantly due to decreases in imports of Petroleum and Road vehicles.
These are preliminary estimates presented on an original, current price (merchandise (goods) trade) basis only, not a Balance of Payments (BoP) basis. This means that the data are presented on a customs basis, whereas BoP data are derived from the customs basis by applying adjustments for factors such as valuation, coverage, timing and residence, as required by the Australian System of National Accounts.
Caution should be exercised in interpreting preliminary estimates as they may be different to the final published estimates because:
- Estimates are based on preliminary data provided by businesses and individuals, and are subject to revision as more complete and accurate information becomes available. Therefore accuracy of these estimates may be poorer than for final estimates.
- This data does not include adjustments that are supplementary to transaction information provided by the Department of Home Affairs for example, adjustments to account for low value imported items and other above-mentioned BoP adjustments.
The timeline below provides key processing timeframes and publication dates for the April 2020 international trade in goods data.
Timeline April 2020
Timeline April 2020