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
October 2020
Released
24/11/2020
Future releases
  • Next Release 23/12/2020
    International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia, November 2020
  • Next Release 25/01/2021
    International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia, December 2020
  • Next Release 23/02/2021
    International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia, January 2021
  • View all releases

Key statistics

  • Exports of goods in October 2020 increased $1,796m (6%) to $30,532m
  • Imports of goods in October 2020 increased $1,978m (8%) to $25,692m
  • For October there is a goods trade surplus of $4,840m (original, current price, merchandise trade basis)

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

International trade in goods - exports summary (a)
 Aug 2019Sep 2019Oct 2019Aug 2020Sep 2020Oct 2020Sep 2020 - Oct 2020Year on year
 $m$m$m$m$m$m$m%$m%
Total goods33,86532,95031,44427,95628,73630,5321,7966-912-3
Rural goods3,7173,7233,8823,1522,9283,30437613-578-15
Non-Rural (b)28,01426,53825,53623,42523,43925,2401,8018-296-1
Non-monetary gold (c )2,1342,6902,0261,3792,3691,988- 381-16-38-2
- 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 October 2020 increased from the revised September 2020 estimate of $28,736m by $1,796m (6%) to $30,532m.

  • metalliferous ores increased $833m (7%)
  • gas increased $360m (18%)
  • meat increased $217m (21%)

Australia exported a record $13,465m of metalliferous ores, the majority of which was iron ore (81%), which also reached a record high export value of $10,945m. The record metalliferous ores export value is $658m higher than the previous record high in June 2020.

The increase in exports of gas is the first month-on-month increase since March 2020. Exports of gas have fallen substantially during 2020 as a result of reduced demand and low global prices.

Offsetting the increase:

  • non-monetary gold declined $257m (-12%)
  • petroleum declined $177m (-24%)
  • gold coin declined $124m (-57%)

Year-on-year

October 2020 exports have declined $912m (-3%) on October 2019, this was driven by:

  • gas, down $1,709m (-43%)
  • coal, down $1,221m (-27%)
  • petroleum, down $602m (-52%)

Metalliferous ores have offset the declines significantly, increasing $3,604m (37%) year on year.

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Top five export destinations

Key country movements:

  • China increased $873m (7%)
  • South Korea increased $593m (35%)
  • United Kingdom (UK) increased $367m (26%)
  • Japan increased $324m (11%)
  • The United States of America (USA) increased $52m (5%)

Metalliferous ores, specifically iron ore was the main driver of the increases to China and Japan, up $325m (4%) and $174m (36%) respectively. China continues to be the main export destination for iron ore, with 80% of all iron ore exported in October going to China. For comparison, the next two largest destinations are Japan and South Korea, both of which accounted for 6% of the total iron ore value.

Metalliferous ores and coal, drove the increase to South Korea, increasing by $205m (28%) and $168m (47%) respectively.

The increase in exports to the UK were again driven by non-monetary gold, due to the UK being a global trading hub for gold.

Exports of meat, predominantly beef, drove the increase in exports to the USA.

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Imports

International trade in goods - imports summary (a)
 Aug 2019Sep 2019Oct 2019Aug 2020Sep 2020Oct 2020Sep 2020 - Oct 2020Year on year
 $m$m$m$m$m$m$m%$m%
Total goods25,88526,02328,68024,00823,71425,6921,9788-2,988-10
Capital goods (b)5,8106,6847,0085,8075,9106,4044948-604-9
Consumption goods8,2628,3499,6578,3428,4719,6251,15414-32-0
Intermediate & other goods10,71310,26411,5458,9178,6279,1875606-2,358-20
Non-monetary gold1,100727469942707475- 232- 3361
- 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 October 2020 increased from the revised September 2020 estimate of $23,714m by $1,978m (8%) to $25,692m.

  • road vehicles increased $393m (13%)
  • telecommunications and sound equipment increased $359m (28%)

Road vehicle imports saw their fifth consecutive monthly increase since the sharp decline in May 2020 due to the pandemic. Year-on-year, the October 2020 value is $67m (2%) higher than October 2019 and is the highest value since May 2019.

Within telecommunications and sound equipment, mobile phones increased $270m (111%), predominantly from China, this increase aligns with the release of new mobile phone models.

Other increases include:

  • miscellaneous manufactured articles, up $220m (15%)
  • petroleum, up $179m (11%) and
  • articles of apparel, up $165m (18%)

Miscellaneous manufactured articles often increase in the lead-up to Christmas. October 2020 observes a similar increase which coincides with the upcoming release of games and gaming consoles prior to Christmas.

Within articles of apparel; garments, made up of fabrics of felt or of nonwovens increased $42m (142%). Isolation gowns made up most of this increase, the majority from China and predominantly destined for Victoria.

Offsetting the increase:

  • non-monetary gold declined $232m (-33%)

Year-on-year

October 2020 imports have declined $2,988m (-10%) on October 2019, this has been driven by:

  • petroleum, down $1,722m (-49%)
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Top five source countries

Key country movements:

  • China increased $1,072m (16%)
  • the United States of America (USA) increased $130m (5%)
  • Japan increased $428m (29%)
  • Thailand increased $210m (19%)
  • Germany decreased $76m (-6%)

China’s increase was driven by a $386m (58%) increase in telecommunications and sound equipment and a $191m (28%) increase in miscellaneous manufactured articles.

The increase in imports from the USA was driven by a $142m (77%) increase in medicinal and pharmaceutical products.

The ongoing trend of increasing imports of road vehicles contributed to the change for both Japan and Thailand, increasing $374m (40%) and $90m (14%) respectively.

The decline in imports from Germany was driven by a $81m (-40%) decline in specialised machinery.

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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