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International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia

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

Reference period
June 2021

Key statistics

•    Exports of goods in June 2021 increased $2,889m (8%) to $41,287m
•    Imports of goods in June 2021 increased $2,122m (8%) to $28,015m
•    For June 2021 there is a goods trade surplus of $13,271m (original, current price, merchandise trade basis)

This (June 2021 reference month) is the final release of the International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary publication. 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

International trade in goods - exports summary (a)
 Apr 2020May 2020Jun 2020Apr 2021May 2021Jun 2021May - Jun 21Jun 20 - Jun 21
$m$m$m$m$m$m$m%$m%
Total goods31,03329,16031,03135,32938,39741,2872,889810,25633
Rural goods4,0063,7073,6134,4074,7324,92219041,31036
Non-Rural (b)25,13224,04025,05829,14631,84734,2222,37579,16437
Non-monetary gold (c )1,8951,4132,3611,7761,8182,14232518-218-9

- 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 June 2021 increased from the revised May 2021 estimate of $38,397m by $2,889m (8%) to $41,287m.

In June 2021:

•    metalliferous ores increased $1,485m (8%)
•    coal increased $555m (15%)
•    non-monetary gold increased $507m (34%)
•    gas increased $377m (14%)

Metalliferous ores increased to a record high of $20,494m, and accounted for almost half of Australia’s total export value in June. This is the fourth consecutive record month for metalliferous ores. Driving the increase was iron ore, up $1,043m (6%) to $17,553m. The iron ore increase was primarily price driven despite recent pressure to reduce prices.

Also driving the metalliferous ores increase was copper ore, up $302m (55%) to $847m. The increase was driven largely by an increase in price, up 37%, to above $5.00 per kilogram for the first time on record. Green technologies have been increasing demand for copper amidst limited global supply.

Coal increased to its highest value since April 2020 driven by hard coking coal, up $332m (24%) and thermal coal, up $164m (10%). Japan and South Korea drove the increases in both coal types.

The increase in non-monetary gold was driven by increases to the UK, up $441m, and China, up $396m, and partially offset by a $442m decline to Hong Kong.

The increase in gas was driven by an 18% increase in the price of liquefied natural gas, as quantity declined 4%.

Offsetting the increases:

•    petroleum declined $308m (-30%)
•    gold coin declined $183m (-58%)
•    oil seeds declined $171m (-48%)
•    non-ferrous metals declined $160m (-14%)

Petroleum and gold coin both declined in June off the back of strong May exports, petroleum to the lowest level since January 2021 and gold coin to the lowest level since October 2020.

June 2021 on June 2020

June 2021 exports are $10,256m (33%) higher than June 2020, driven by: 

•    metalliferous ores, up $7,611m (59%)
•    cereals, up $713m (125%)
•    coal, up $504m (14%)
•    gas, up $378m (14%)

Partially offsetting the increase was medicinal and pharmaceutical products, down $319m (-51%).

Top five export destinations

Key country movements:

•    China increased $1,454m (8%)   
•    Japan increased $822m (21%)
•    South Korea increased $567m (24%)
•    Taiwan increased $104m (9%)
•    USA increased $89m (7%)

The increase to Japan was driven by coal, up $324m (32%). Hard coking coal increased $132m (61%) and thermal coal increased $168m (29%).

The increase to South Korea was driven by metalliferous ores, up $236m (21%) and coal, up $172m (32%). Driving the metalliferous ores increase was iron ore, up $108m (14%) and precious metal ores and concentrates, up $89m.

The increase to Taiwan was driven by metalliferous ores, up $101m (26%).

The increase to the USA was driven by fertilisers, up $69m to $74m, a record high to one of Australia’s key fertiliser export markets, and medicinal and pharmaceutical products, up $55m.

Exports to China

Driving the increase to Australia’s largest trading partner, China, were: 
•    metalliferous ores, up $1,099m (8%)
•    non-monetary gold, up $396m (87%)

The increase in metalliferous ores to China was once again driven by iron ore, up $1,016m (7%) to $14,887m, a record high for iron ore and subsequently metalliferous ores. Price was once again the predominant driver of the increase, up 5%, with quantity also increasing, up 2%.

Made up almost entirely of gold bullion, June observed the second highest non-monetary gold export to China on record.

Imports

International trade in goods - imports summary (a)
 Apr 2020May 2020Jun 2020Apr 2021May 2021Jun 2021May - Jun 21Jun 20 - Jun 21
$m$m$m$m$m$m$m%$m%
Total goods23,93222,04523,24125,76425,89328,0152,12284,77521
Capital goods (b)6,0435,5385,7506,2916,6597,28862991,53827
Consumption goods7,8486,4137,2278,5858,3748,67329941,44520
Intermediate & other goods9,4508,8369,45810,36210,13511,4921,357132,03422
Non-monetary gold5911,257806526725563-162-22-243-30

- 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 June 2021 increased from the revised May 2021 estimate of $25,893m by $2,122m (8%) to $28,015m.

In June 2021:

•    petroleum increased $1,091m (51%)
•    road vehicles increased $852m (25%)
•    specialised machinery increased $285m (29%)
•    transport equipment increased $194m (35%)

The increase in petroleum was driven by diesel, up $460m (45%) to $1,476m and crude oil, up $232m (46%). Both increases helped petroleum imports return to pre-COVID-19 levels. 

Throughout the pandemic diesel import quantities have remained relatively steady, as domestic trucking and mining sectors were minimally impacted by lockdowns. By comparison the quantity of crude oil imports declined substantially during COVID-19 and remain well below pre-COVID-19 levels.

Road vehicles increased to a record high of $4,244m. This was driven by increases across several vehicle categories as Australian car dealerships report ongoing strength in domestic demand, despite the global semi-conductor shortage continuing to impact manufacturing. 

Specialised machinery increased $285m, to the third highest monthly value, $1,272m, driven by mechanical appliances and machines, and combine harvester-threshers. 

The increase in transport equipment was driven by warships from Spain, up $411m, and helicopters from the USA, up $106m.

Offsetting the increase:

•    non-monetary gold declined $162m (-22%)

June 2021 on June 2020

June 2021 imports are $4,775m (21%) higher than June 2020, driven by:

•    road vehicles, up $2,612m (160%)
•    petroleum, up $1,665m (106%)
•    transport equipment, up $534m (242%)

Top five source countries

Key country movements:

•    Japan increased $350m (25%)
•    Thailand increased $257m (23%)
•    Malaysia increased $253m (23%)
•    China increased $25m (0%)
•    The United States of America (USA) declined $323m (-10%)

The increase from Japan was driven by road vehicles, up $295m (35%), spread across several vehicle categories and petroleum, up $104m led by diesel, following nil diesel imports in May.

The increase from Thailand was driven by road vehicles, up $201m (36%), led by a $127m increase in off-road diesel vehicles for the transport of goods.

The increase from Malaysia was driven by petroleum, up $185m (33%) to a record high of $748m. This increase was primarily driven by diesel, up $121m (101%) to $242m, the second highest diesel import value from Malaysia.

Imports from China were driven by several moderate increases, including power generating machinery and specialised machinery, and were partially offset by a $98m (-14%) decline in telecommunications and sound equipment.

The decline from the USA was primarily in transport equipment, driven by aeroplanes and other aircraft, down $310m, and non-monetary gold, down $99m. Partially offsetting these declines was an increase in petroleum, up $147m, almost entirely driven by crude oil.

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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