Latest release

International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia

Contains preliminary estimates of international merchandise trade, includes breakdowns of imports, exports, source and destination countries

Reference period
Apr 21
Released
25/05/2021
Future releases
  • Next Release 23/06/2021
    International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia, May 2021
  • Next Release 22/07/2021
    International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia, June 2021
  • View all releases

Key statistics

•    Exports of goods in April 2021 increased $13m (0%) to $35,952m
•    Imports of goods in April 2021 declined $1,896m (-7%) to $25,811m
•    For April 2021 there is a goods trade surplus of $10,141m (original, current price, merchandise trade basis)

This publication will be discontinued with the final release (June 2021 reference month) published on 22 July 2021. For more information, see media release Changes to ABS statistical work program.

International merchandise trade data will continue to be available monthly in publication International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia

This publication presents preliminary data on Australia's international trade in goods on an original, current price, merchandise trade basis. These data are subject to revision as more complete and accurate information becomes available. See Methodology for more details.

Exports

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International trade in goods - exports summary (a)
 Feb 2020Mar 2020Apr 2020Feb 2021Mar 2021Apr 2021Mar - Apr 21Apr 20 - Apr 21
$m$m$m$m$m$m$m%$m%
Total goods27,52035,54331,03331,67035,94035,9521304,92016
Rural goods3,7564,4484,0063,9954,8484,658-190-465316
Non-Rural (b)22,66527,52225,13224,84728,97129,51854724,38717
Non-monetary gold (c )1,1003,5731,8952,8282,1211,776-345-16-120-6

- 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.

Exports key movements

Exports of goods in April 2021 increased from the revised March 2021 estimate by $13m (0%) to $35,952m.

In April 2021:

•    coal increased $287m (8%)
•    petroleum increased $256m (31%)
•    medicinal and pharmaceutical products increased $135m (55%)
•    metalliferous ores increased $96m (1%)

The increase in coal was driven by thermal coal, up $203m (16%), with exports to India up $116m (167%). Australian coal exports to India have been steadily rising since mid-2020, following a substantial reduction in Chinese demand for Australian coal.

The increase in petroleum was driven by crude oil, up $245m (40%), driven by both quantity and price as oil prices increased during April.

The increase in medicinal and pharmaceutical products was driven by antisera and other blood fractions, up $117m (576%).

Metalliferous ores reached a record high ($16,468m) for the second month in a row. Several commodities drove the increase, most notably precious metal ores and concentrates, up $68m (67%).

Offsetting the increases:

•    non-monetary gold declined $279m (-15%)
•    oil seeds declined $212m (-40%)

The decline in oil seeds was driven by canola, following record high exports in March.

April 2021 on April 2020

April 2021 exports are $4,920m (16%) higher than April 2020, driven by: 

•    metalliferous ores, up $5,213m (46%)
•    cereals, up $556m (81%)

Offsetting the increase was gas, down $1,206m (-28%).

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Top five export destinations

Key country movements:

•    China increased $591m (4%)   
•    Japan increased $297m (7%) 
•    South Korea increased $118m (5%)
•    India increased $23m (2%)
•    Singapore declined $502m (-24%)

Exports to Japan increased, driven by non-ferrous metals up $116m (124%). Cereals also increased, up $79m (550%), with bulk wheat and barley driving the increase.

South Korea’s increase was driven by metalliferous ores, up $101 (9%), with iron ore up $131m (15%). This represents a historic high for metalliferous ores and is a result of high iron ore prices.

Exports to India increased, driven by metalliferous ores, up $127m (167%), and coal, up $110m (13%). Copper ores drove the metalliferous ores increase, up $121m (225%) to $175m, while thermal coal drove the coal increase, up $116m (167%). These increases were partially offset by non-monetary gold which declined $264m (-65%).

Singapore’s decline was driven by metalliferous ores, down $273m (-40%), and non-monetary gold, down $178m (-41%).

Exports to China

Driving the increase to Australia’s largest trading partner, China: 
•    non-monetary gold, up $282m (129%)
•    metalliferous ores, up $204m (2%)

Gold exports to China occurred for the second month in a row, following a 14-month period of nil trade.

The increase in metalliferous ores to China, reaching $10,858m, was driven by iron ore, up $234m to $10,551m. Both reaching record highs for the second month in a row. The increase in iron ore was driven by price which increased 4%, offsetting a 1% decline in quantity.

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Imports

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International trade in goods - imports summary (a)
 Feb 2020Mar 2020Apr 2020Feb 2021Mar 2021Apr 2021Mar - Apr 21Apr 20 - Apr 21
$m$m$m$m$m$m$m%$m%
Total goods21,42424,05423,93224,13927,70725,811-1,896-71,8798
Capital goods (b)4,9986,1976,0435,9966,7836,216-567-81733
Consumption goods6,9887,3567,8488,4359,0648,585-479-57379
Intermediate & other goods8,8889,4379,4509,25610,87810,484-394-41,03311
Non-monetary gold5511,064591452981526-455-46-65-11

- 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 import items are included in Capital goods, whether or not this reflects their true nature  

Imports key movements

Imports of goods in April 2021 declined from the revised March 2021 estimate of $27,707m by $1,896m (-7%) to $25,811m.

In April 2021:
•    non-monetary gold declined $455m (-46%)
•    electrical machinery, declined $184m (-10%)
•    articles of apparel declined $177m (-17%)
•    transport equipment declined $127m (-34%)

The decline in non-monetary gold follows strong March gold imports, with the largest declines from the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The decline in electrical machinery, from a record high in March, spanned many categories. Leading, was assembled solar arrays and solar cells, down $36m (-23%), with $35m of the decline from China. China is the predominant supplier of solar technology to Australia, accounting for 83% of assembled solar arrays and solar cell imports since 2015.  

The decline in articles of apparel, follows the second highest value on record last month, with declines across numerous categories.

The decline in transport equipment was driven by cruise ships and aeroplanes and other aircraft, with cruise ship imports in March not repeated in April.

Offsetting the increase:

•    road vehicles increased $150m (4%)

Road vehicles increased to a record high of $4,084m, despite the ongoing semi-conductor shortage impacting vehicle production globally.

April 2021 on April 2020

April 2021 imports are $1,879m (8%) higher than April 2020, driven by:

•    road vehicles, up $1,450m (55%)
•    petroleum, up $995m (58%)

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Top five source countries

Key country movements:

•    Japan declined $313m (-15%)
•    China declined $216m (-3%)
•    The United States of America (USA) increased $46m (2%)
•    Germany increased $103m (9%)
•    Malaysia increased $117m (10%)

The decline from Japan was driven by road vehicles, down $218m (-16%) following a $330m increase in March.

The decline from China was driven by electrical machinery, down $95m (-12%), with assembled solar arrays and solar cells the largest contributing commodity. Articles of apparel also drove the decline, down $82m (-14%).

The increase from the USA was driven by road vehicles, up $174m (73%) and specialised machinery, up $84m (42%). Partially offsetting the increase was a decline in non-monetary gold, down $126m (-46%), following the second highest gold import from the USA in March.

The increase from Germany was driven by road vehicles, up $184m (124%), led by 4wd vehicles.

The increase from Malaysia, was driven by petroleum, up $189m (34%) due to an increase in diesel, up $307m (208%) to $454m, a record high. This was partially offset by a decline in crude oil, down $134m (-44%).

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Changes in this issue

From the January 2021 reference month onwards, the membership of the European Union country grouping has been amended to reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The European Union 27 time series now represents the current membership across the entire time series; rather than reflecting the membership of any particular reference period.

For example, the United Kingdom does not contribute to any reference period of the European Union 27 time series presented in this publication (as the United Kingdom is not a current member of the Union). Furthermore, Croatia (as a current member) is represented in all reference periods of the European Union 27 time series (despite joining the Union in 2013).

The value of merchandise trade is computed as a sum of the current member countries. Therefore, users who wish to compute the European Union value with a different membership can simply add the component countries together.

Inquiries

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Data downloads

Table 1. Preliminary merchandise exports, standard international trade classification (1 and 2 digit), FOB value

Table 2. Preliminary merchandise imports, standard international trade classification (1 and 2 digit), customs value

Table 3. Preliminary merchandise exports, country and country groups, FOB value

Table 4. Preliminary merchandise imports, country and country groups, customs value

Table 5. Preliminary merchandise exports, state and Australia, FOB value

Table 6. Preliminary merchandise imports, state and Australia, customs value

All time series

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.55.024