This release provides preliminary estimates for Australian international merchandise (goods) trade for the month of August 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 August monthly estimates will be published in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0) on 6 October 2020.
Preliminary August key points and figures
Preliminary trade in goods (original, current prices)
- The preliminary figures show that the value of exports declined $616m (-2%) to $28,319m from the revised July 2020 value of $28,935m. Year-on-year, the August 2020 figure declined $5,545m (-16%) from August 2019.
- The value of goods imported declined by $1,785m (-7%) to $24,026m on the revised July 2020 value of $25,811m. Year-on-year, the August 2020 figure declined $1,859m (-7%) from August 2019.
- While both exports and imports declined in August 2020 a goods trade surplus of $4,294m (original, current price, merchandise trade basis) has been recorded.
Preliminary international trade in goods summary (a)
|Jun 2019||Jul 2019||Aug 2019||Jun 2020||Jul 2020||Aug 2020||Jul to Aug 2020|
|Original current prices|
|Non-rural goods (b)||29,558||28,726||28,014||24,759||22,389||23,664||1,275||6|
|Non-monetary gold (c)||1,651||2,737||2,134||2,361||3,614||1,380||-2,234||-62|
|Capital goods (d)||6,059||6,063||5,810||5,750||6,554||5,770||-784||-12|
|Intermediate & other goods||9,865||11,024||10,713||9,427||9,714||8,968||-746||-8|
- 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 price)
- Exports of goods in August 2020 declined from the revised July 2020 estimate of $28,935m by $616m (-2%) to $28,319m.
- The decline in August 2020 was driven by non-monetary gold (excluding gold coin), down $2,270m (-64%) off the back of a record high value in July 2020.
- Other declines in August include gas, down $307m (-12%). The value of exports of gas have consistently fallen since March 2020, driven by a drop in price; and textile fibres, down $62m (-30%).
- Partially offsetting these declines was an increase in exports of metalliferous ores, up $996m (9%) with increases to a number of Asian countries signalling a rebound in their manufacturing and construction industries; and petroleum, up $305m (52%).
- Year-on-year, exports in August 2020 declined $5,545m (-16%) compared to August 2019. This was primarily driven by falls in gas, down $2,374m (-52%); coal, which has been declining since mid-2019, down $1,914m (-36%); and non-monetary gold (excluding gold coin), down $764m (-37%). Over the same period exports of metalliferous ores were up $646m (6%).
Preliminary exports - top 5 destination countries (original, current price)
- From July to August 2020 exports to China increased by $54m to $11,888m. While the overall increase was small, larger increases were recorded in exports of metalliferous ores, up $181m (2%) and non-ferrous metals, up $135m (67%). Offsetting these increases were declines in coal, down $259m (-29%), and textile fibres, down $53m (-32%).
- Over the same period, exports to Japan increased $235m (8%), driven by metalliferous ores, up $161m (44%), and fish, up $75m (366%) with an increase in exports of frozen southern bluefin tuna.
- Exports to South Korea increased $138m (9%), with non-monetary gold up $52m after nil exports in July 2020, and metalliferous ores, up $49m (8%).
- Exports to the United States of America declined $860m (-36%) driven predominantly by a decline in exports of non-monetary gold. Non-monetary gold exports to the United Kingdom also declined, dropping the United Kingdom out of the top 5 export destinations for the August month, replaced by India.
- Exports to India increased substantially up $424m (69%) with increased exports of coal, up $269m (57%) and metalliferous ores, up $83m (301%).
Preliminary imports (original, current price)
- Imports of goods in August 2020 declined from the revised July 2020 estimate of $25,811m by $1,785m (-7%) to $24,026m.
- The decline was driven in part by a large decrease in imports of transport equipment, down $389m (-55%) following the import of several aircraft in July 2020, as well as a decrease in office and ADP machines, down $278m (-24%).
- Other large declines occurred in imports of electrical machinery, down $212m (-12%), and non-monetary gold, down $163m (-15%).
- Imports of textile yarn, fabrics and related products, which includes commodities associated with personal protective equipment (PPE) such as facemasks, also declined from the record high in July, down $57m (-8%) to $679m in August 2020. Despite the monthly decline, the August import value is the second highest value on record.
- Partially offsetting the overall decline in August 2020, imports of road vehicles increased by $339m (14%). Despite this being the third consecutive monthly increase, year-on-year the August 2020 road vehicle imports are still down $379m or 12%.
- Year-on-year imports of goods in August 2020 declined by $1,859m (-7%) on August 2019 due largely to a significant decline in petroleum imports, down $1,538m (-46%).
Preliminary imports - top 5 source countries (original, current price)
- From July to August 2020 imports from China decreased, down $1,007m (-13%) to $6,647m, with declines across a broad range of commodities, however the major drivers included: Office and ADP machines, down $203m (-27%); Electrical machinery, down $158m (-19%); and Telecommunications equipment down, $131m (-16%). Other notable declines occurred in textile yarns, fabrics and related products and articles of apparel, both of which include personal protective equipment (PPE), down $79m (-14%) and $60m (-9%) respectively.
- Over the same period imports from the United States of America declined $755m (-23%) driven by the import of transport equipment, down $456m (-85%) and non-monetary gold, down $271m (-88%).
- Imports from Japan declined $49m (-4%), driven by a decrease in imports of rubber manufactures, down $39m (-43%).
- Imports from Germany increased by $273m (26%) in August, driven largely by road vehicles, up $163m (117%).
- Imports from Thailand were up $98m (8%), driven largely by non-monetary gold, which increased by $140m (89%).
Timeline August 2020
The timeline below provides key processing time frames and publication dates for the August 2020 international trade in goods data.
Timeline August 2020
Timeline August 2020