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International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia

Statistics about international trade in goods and services, on a balance of payments and international trade basis.

Reference period
February 2022
Released
7/04/2022

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus decreased $4,329m to $7,457m in February. 
  • Goods and services credits (exports) rose $120m (0%) to $48,769m, driven by a rise in exports of Non-monetary gold and Cereal grains and cereal preparations. 
  • Goods and services debits (imports) rose $4,449m (12%) to $41,312m, driven by increases in imports of Processed industrial supplies n.e.s and Fuels and lubricants.

Main features

Key Figures, Seasonally Adjusted
  Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22
($m)
Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Balance on goods and services8,23611,7867,457-4,329na
 Credits (Exports of goods & services)45,84348,64948,769120-
 Debits (Imports of goods & services)-37,607-36,863-41,3124,44912

na not applicable
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

COVID-19

Suspension of trend estimates

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in international trade activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent changes to regular patterns in international trade resulting from it. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this unusual event they would provide a misleading view of underlying international trade activity.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in international trade activity can be accurately estimated. The trend series has therefore been suspended from March 2019 and will be reinstated when more certainty emerges.

Seasonal adjustment and COVID-19

International Accounts uses the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time new data becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual events such as COVID-19 can distort estimates calculated using this method. From March 2020, seasonal factors for series that have been notably impacted by COVID-19 will be calculated using data up to and including February 2020, then projected from March 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.

The ABS has advised users that it moved to using forward factors for seasonal analysis of a number of series, including Travel Services. Current ABS (and international) practice requires at least three years of data to assess whether a change in seasonal pattern has occurred. Should COVID-19 result in a long-term change to the seasonal pattern then revisions to these series may occur in the future. The ABS will consult with users on any future methods changes to seasonal adjustment and potential revisions. The Feature Article International travel services time series outlines the matter in greater detail.

Quality of international trade in services statistics

Monthly International Trade in Services statistics (ITS) are compiled using multiple data sources. These data, compared with the publication reference period, are lagged. The lag in data results in most ITS estimates being nowcast when initially published. In recent times, these estimates have been more volatile, due in part to COVID-19 but also due to services data availability. While the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) make every effort to ensure estimates of monthly ITS are reflective and robust, in the current environment, the ABS recommends monthly services estimates be interpreted and used with caution. The International Trade in Services; Concepts, Source and Methods outlines this in further detail.

Changes to timing of release of International Trade, Supplementary Information, financial year (2020-21) and calendar year (2021)

COVID-19 has impacted the availability and quality of source data used to compile international trade in services estimates. As a result the 2020-2021 and 2021 International Trade, Supplementary Information publications (former cat. Nos. 5368.0.55.003 and 5368.0.55.004) have been delayed. Both publications are expected to be released commencing from June 2022. 

Changes in this issue

Upcoming changes to the International Merchandise Trade: Confidential Commodities List

The March 2022 reference month (released 28th April 2022) will be the final issue of the International Merchandise Trade: Confidential Commodities List publication. From the April 2022 reference month the International merchandise trade: Confidential Commodities List (Tables 1-4) datacube will be available as an additional download in the monthly International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia publication (released 2nd May 2022).

The Confidential Commodities List (CCL) is needed to interpret the impact of confidentiality on merchandise trade statistics in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia and other international trade in good statistics. This change improves interpretability of the monthly data at the time it is released.

Balance on goods and services

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $7,457m in February 2022, a decrease of $4,329m on the surplus in January 2022. 

Balance on goods and services(a), seasonally adjusted
   Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Balance on goods and services8,23611,7867,457-4,329na
 Total goods and services credits45,84348,64948,769120-
  Total goods credits41,08943,81043,974164-
  Total services credits4,7534,8394,794-45-1
 Total goods and services debits-37,607-36,863-41,3124,44912
  Total goods debits-32,258-31,274-35,4174,14313
  Total services debits-5,348-5,589-5,8953065

na not applicable
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.

Goods and services credits (exports), seasonally adjusted

Goods credits

(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019.

Goods credits, seasonally adjusted
 Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Total goods credits41,08943,81043,974164-
 General merchandise38,76141,81741,615-202-
  Rural goods5,1995,6455,8281833
  Non-rural goods33,56236,17335,788-385-1
 Net exports of goods under merchanting(a)312431729
 Non-monetary gold(a)2,2971,9692,32835918

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) This component is not seasonally adjusted.

Rural goods

Rural goods rose $183m (3%), driven by Cereal grains and cereal preparations, which increased $213m (15%). 

 

Rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Rural goods5,1995,6455,8281833
 Meat and meat preparations1,3201,3621,379171
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations1,5141,4041,61721315
 Wool and sheepskins276274295218
 Other rural(a)2,0892,6052,537-68-3

(a) For all time periods, estimates for sugar, sugar preparations and honey are included in Other non-rural.

Non-rural goods

Non-rural goods fell $385m (1%), driven by Metal ores and minerals, down $328m (2%). The fall was driven by falls in quantities for iron ore fines and lumps. 

Non-rural goods, seasonally adjusted
  Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Non-rural goods33,56236,17335,788-385-1
 Metal ores and minerals12,88214,35614,028-328-2
 Coal, coke and briquettes7,8108,5588,7251672
 Other mineral fuels(a)7,1296,7846,844601
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)1,0791,2031,154-49-4
 Machinery9461,123955-168-15
 Transport equipment333402415133
 Other manufactures1,9312,1812,078-103-5
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(b)1,2091,2991,261-38-3
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(a)2432673286123

(a) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern.
(b) For all time periods, estimates for sugar, sugar preparations and honey are included in Other non-rural. 

For price and quantity details, see the Selected commodities information available in the Supplementary information section.

Services credits

(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019.

Services credits, seasonally adjusted
 Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Total services credits4,7534,8394,794-45-1
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(a)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(a)561-5-83
 Transport34234835572
  Passenger(b)(c)232328522
  Freight(d)293030--
  Other159161161--
  Postal and courier services(e)13113513611
 Travel(c)1,6391,6991,636-63-4
 Other services2,7682,7852,803181
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services credits(f)1,6611,7211,664-57-3

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 
(a) This component is not seasonally adjusted. 
(b) Passenger transportation services includes agency fees and commissions for air transport. 
(c) This component has been seasonally adjusted using the forward factor method since March 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19. 
(d) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern. 
(e) Postal and courier services includes indirect commissions for sea transport. 
(f) For a more detailed explanation of tourism related services, see the Explanatory notes. 

Goods and services debits (imports), seasonally adjusted

Goods debits

(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019.

Goods debits (imports) (a), seasonally adjusted
 Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Total goods debits-32,258-31,274-35,4174,14313
 General merchandise debits-31,687-30,760-34,8354,07513
  Consumption goods-9,739-9,867-11,4981,63117
  Capital goods-7,596-7,258-7,3981402
  Intermediate and other merchandise goods-14,352-13,636-15,9382,30217
 Non-monetary gold(b)-571-514-5826813

(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.
(b) This component is not seasonally adjusted.

Consumption goods

Consumption goods rose $1,631m (17%), driven by Consumption goods n.e.s. up $480 (15%), Non-industrial transport equipment, up $471m (21%) and Textiles, clothing and footwear up $354m (21%).

Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Consumption goods-9,739-9,867-11,4981,63117
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption-1,338-1,410-1,5151057
 Household electrical items-588-617-75613923
 Non-industrial transport equipment-2,231-2,247-2,71847121
 Textiles, clothing and footwear-1,729-1,698-2,05235421
 Toys, books and leisure goods-703-691-7778612
 Consumption goods n.e.s.-3,150-3,202-3,68248015

(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.

Capital goods

Capital goods rose $140m (2%), driven by Capital goods n.e.s., up $354m (101%) 

Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Capital goods-7,596-7,258-7,3981402
 Machinery and industrial equipment-2,260-2,330-2,4371075
 ADP equipment-1,286-1,291-1,2932-
 Telecommunications equipment-1,325-1,228-1,40717915
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-785-755-295-460-61
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-1,396-1,304-1,263-41-3
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-545-350-704354101

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells).
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.
(b) From July 2008, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Civil aircraft and confidentialised items. For earlier periods, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Other merchandise goods.
(c) This component is not seasonally adjusted.
(d) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern.

Intermediate and other merchandise goods

Intermediate and other merchandise goods rose $2,302m (17%), driven by Processed industrial supplies n.e.s., up $1,346m (28%) and Fuels and lubricants up $632m (18%). 

Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-14,352-13,636-15,9382,30217
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry-197-204-20731
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.(b)-204-180-156-24-13
 Fuels and lubricants(c)-3,939-3,510-4,14263218
 Parts for transport equipment-1,270-1,234-1,290565
 Parts for ADP equipment-90-90-9333
 Other parts for capital goods-1,887-1,810-1,9321227
 Organic and inorganic chemicals-637-569-585163
 Paper and paperboard-224-185-2203519
 Textile yarn and fabrics-152-144-1631913
 Iron and steel-516-485-478-7-1
 Plastics-536-477-5618418
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.-4,643-4,725 -6,0711,34628
 Other merchandise goods(d)-52-17-321588
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(e)-5-6-8233

(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory Notes.
(b) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern.
(c) Prior to October 2011, this series is not seasonally adjusted.
(d) From July 2008, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Civil aircraft and confidentialised items. For earlier periods, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Other merchandise goods.
(e) Prior to April 2010, this component is not seasonally adjusted.

Services debits

(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019.

Services debits(a), seasonally adjusted
 Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 ($m)Jan-22 to Feb-22 (%)
Total services debits-5,348-5,589-5,8953065
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(b)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(b)-25-30-20-10-33
 Transport-2,147-2,336-2,61728112
  Passenger(c)(d)-175-211-223126
  Freight-1,928-2,074-2,34126713
  Other(b)-17-16-16--
  Postal and courier services(e)(f)-27-36-3713
 Travel(d)-112-114-1584439
 Other services-3,065-3,108-3,101-7-
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services debits(g)-287-325-3805517

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells). 
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory Notes. 
(b) This component is not seasonally adjusted. 
(c) Passenger services includes agency fees and commissions for air transport. 
(d) This component has been seasonally adjusted using the forward factor method since March 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19.
(e) Postal and courier services includes indirect commissions for sea transport. 
(f) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern. 
(g) For a more detailed explanation of tourism related services, see the Explanatory notes. 

Post release changes

08/04/2022 - The February 2022 value for Processed industrial supplies n.e.s. debits has been updated with the correct sign convention.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.

Supplementary information

Selected commodities

Selected commodities, quantities (a)
 Sep-21 (%)Oct-21 (%)Nov-21 (%)Dec-21 (%)Jan-22 (%)Feb-22 (%)
Iron ore - Lump3-15169-17-18
Iron ore - Fines6-2 -615-8-16
Coal - Hard coking-97-1073-17
Coal - Semi-soft11-6-5-1413-4
Coal - Thermal-5-7-152-18
Gas - LNG-23-2--82

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 
(a) Data in this table is on a revised international merchandise trade basis and excludes value adjustments applied to balance of payments series.

Selected commodities, unit values (a)
 Sep-21 (%)Oct-21 (%)Nov-21 (%)Dec-21 (%)Jan-22 (%)Feb-22 (%)
Iron ore - Lump -27-8-12101713
Iron ore - Fines-27-19-11142112
Coal - Hard coking203015-3-3111
Coal - Semi-soft1124192-183
Coal - Thermal81912-11107
Gas - LNG101013-2-7

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Data in this table is on a revised international merchandise trade basis and excludes value adjustments applied to balance of payments series.

Selected commodity movements

On an international merchandise trade basis, in original terms (noting the footnote in the above table), between January 2022 and February the largest movements recorded for the following selected commodities were:

Iron ore (lump), movement by country, Jan-22 to Feb-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement-181-7-1813
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)-213-11-2418
Japan-87-25-12-15
Korea, Republic of (South)3530208
Taiwan69623818
Iron ore (fines), movement by country, Jan-22 to Feb-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement-432-6-1612
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)-304-5-1613
Japan-105-23-23-1
Korea, Republic of (South)-65-15-184
United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, nfd-25-100-100-
Vietnam801056326
Hard coking (high rank) coal, Jan-22 to Feb-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement-227-8-1711
India-183-20-19-1
France (includes Andorra and Monaco)-84-49-39-17
Brazil -75-82-71-37
Poland7321647115
Germany74---
Semi soft coal, movement by country, Jan-22 to Feb-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement-10-1-43
Taiwan-52-46-471
Japan-47-12-2415
Korea, Republic of (South)-29-10-178
Vietnam3383106-11
Netherlands68---
Thermal Coal, movement by country, Jan-22 to Feb-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement-458-13-187
Korea, Republic of (South)-367-47-46-2
Taiwan-168-43-43-
Indonesia-72-86-72-49
India55491036
Malaysia14016712220
Liquid Natural Gas, total movement, Jan-22 to Feb-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement-316-52-7

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)  

Selected commodities, quantity and unit value analysis - International merchandise trade basis: Original terms

International merchandise trade exports data presented in the above tables are based on information reported by exporters to the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs). For commodities such as iron ore and coal, newly negotiated contract prices are not fully reflected in data first reported to Home Affairs. Final quantity and/or unit price information is updated progressively in international merchandise trade data as exporters revise the information provided to Home Affairs. When additional information for these commodities is available, the ABS may adjust the data to reflect actual transaction values.

Unit values in this publication are presented in Australian dollar terms. Movements in the unit values for some commodities incorporate movements in the United States dollar prices reported to Home Affairs and movements in the Australian dollar to United States dollar exchange rate.

Value adjustments

Goods credits on an international merchandise trade basis

On a merchandise trade basis, adjustments have been applied to iron ore lump and iron ore fines. When actual final transaction prices become available estimates are replaced with these data. For price and volume details, see the Selected commodities section.

Iron Ore Adjustment, Original Terms
 Aug-21 ($m)Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)
Iron ore lump-10-25-50050-3530
Iron ore fines-10-55010013525200

Goods credits on a balance of payments basis

Coal (in original terms)

On a balance of payments basis, adjustments have been applied to the coal, coke and briquettes component in November (+$20m), December (+$80m) 2021, January (+$1,285m) and February (+$1,055m) 2022. This adjustment takes into account additional information on the unit value of hard coking, semi-soft and thermal coal exports. All previous adjustments have been removed. 

In the international merchandise trade series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes fell 13.3% between December 2021 and January 2022 and rose 8.1% between January 2022 and February 2022. 

In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes rose 1.3% between December 2021 and January 2022 and rose 6.6% between between January and February 2022. 

International merchandise trade exports data presented in this publication are based on information reported by exporters to the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs). At the time of initial reporting to Home Affairs, the final prices at which transactions take place are not known for some commodities. Final quantity and/or unit price information is updated progressively in international merchandise trade data as exporters revise the information provided to Home Affairs.

For commodities such as iron ore and coal, newly negotiated contract prices are not fully reflected in data first reported to Home Affairs. When additional information on quantity and/or unit price for these commodities is available, the ABS may adjust the data to reflect actual transaction values.

Iron ore adjustments are applied on an international merchandise trade basis at the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) level. Coal, coke and briquettes are adjusted on a balance of payments basis in current price, original terms. When actual final transaction prices become available estimates are replaced with these data.

In most instances, transfer of ownership occurs when goods cross the customs frontier. In certain circumstances the change of ownership of large value capital expenditure items can occur prior to the items crossing the customs frontier. The ABS may adjust the relevant balance of payments series to record the timing when transfer of ownership was affected.

Revisions

Revisions have been made to incorporate the latest data relating to International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia since the last issue of this publication.

On an international merchandise trade basis, exports and imports of goods have been revised back to August 2021.

On a balance of payments basis, revisions have been applied to:

  • Good exports back to July 2021 
  • Good imports back to April 2021
  • Services exports back to July 2020 
  • Services imports back to September 2020

Table 17 summarises revisions to goods and services on a balance of payments basis since the last issue of this publication. In original, current price terms, the revisions have:

  • decreased the surplus on goods and services for 2020-21 by $199m
  • decreased the surplus on goods and services for 2021-22 by $3,155m.

 

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