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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
January 2022
Released
3/03/2022

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus increased $4,067m to $12,891m in January. 
  • Goods and services credits (exports) rose $3,487m (8%) to $49,251m, driven by a rise in exports of Metal ores and minerals. 
  • Goods and services debits (imports) fell $581m (2%) to $36,359m, driven by falls in Telecommunications equipment and Capital goods n.e.s..

Main features

Key Figures, Seasonally Adjusted
  Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22
($m)
Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Balance on goods and services9,9608,82412,8914,067na
 Credits (Exports of goods & services)45,25945,76449,2513,4878
 Debits (Imports of goods & services)- 35,299- 36,940- 36,359- 581- 2

na not applicable

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

Adoption of the Seventh Edition of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS2022)

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has partnered with the Department of Home Affiars and Australian Border Force (ABF) to implement the Seventh Edition of the Harmonized Description and Coding System (HS2022). This update of Australia's customs operations and international merchandise trade statistics commenced on 1 January 2022.

Commodities that are opened, closed, or amended through HS2022, may result in breaks to time series. Care must be taken when comparing statistics from before and after the update. More information on the statistical impact of HS2022 can be found in the information paper: Updating the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.

HS2022 has required a re-release of the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification. The latest version of the Harmonized Tariff Item Statistical Codes (HTISC; for imports) can be found on the ABF's current tariff classification website.

Update to the International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods

The International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods has been updated to reflect the implementation of the Seventh Edition of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS2022). The downloadable appendices provide a historical statistical item (commodity) concordance across a number of classifications. This paper has also been amended to update country group membership and preference code information.

Balance on goods and services

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $12,891m in January 2022, an increase of $4,067m on the surplus in December 2021. 

Balance on goods and services(a), seasonally adjusted
   Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Balance on goods and services9,9608,82412,8914,067na
 Total goods and services credits45,25945,76449,2513,4878
  Total goods credits40,46640,90444,4003,4969
  Total services credits4,7934,8604,850- 10-
 Total goods and services debits- 35,299- 36,940- 36,359- 581- 2
  Total goods debits- 30,374- 31,969- 31,160- 809- 3
  Total services debits- 4,925- 4,972- 5,1992275

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
 Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Total goods credits40,46640,90444,4003,4969
 General merchandise38,46338,57542,4063,83110
  Rural goods5,5275,4065,8013957
  Non-rural goods32,93733,16936,6063,43710
 Net exports of goods under merchanting(a)323124- 7- 23
 Non-monetary gold(a)1,9712,2981,970- 328- 14

(a) This component is not seasonally adjusted.

Rural goods

Rural goods rose $395m (7%), driven by Other rural, which increased $436m (20%). Exports of colza seeds rose due to strong global demand, particularly from Europe.

 

Rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Rural goods5,5275,4065,8013957
 Meat and meat preparations1,3541,3801,437574
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations1,5661,5291,421- 108- 7
 Wool and sheepskins28529130093
 Other rural(a)2,3222,2072,64343620

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

Non-rural goods

Non-rural goods rose $3,437m (10%), driven by Metal ores and minerals, up $1,895m (15%). The rise was driven by increases in iron ore prices. 

Non-rural goods, seasonally adjusted
  Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Non-rural goods32,93733,16936,6063,43710
 Metal ores and minerals11,25412,64714,5421,89515
 Coal, coke and briquettes8,6197,4478,6921,24517
 Other mineral fuels(a)7,2177,1796,731- 448- 6
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)1,1591,1421,233918
 Machinery9549751,14517017
 Transport equipment3323374178024
 Other manufactures1,8571,9752,27530015
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(b)1,3231,2271,313867
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(a)222239259208

(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
 Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Total services credits4,7934,8604,850- 10-
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(a)22-- 2- 100
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(a)12-- 2- 100
 Transport31931732252
  Passenger(b)(c)111114327
  Freight(d)24242514
  Other162161158- 3- 2
  Postal and courier services(e)12212112543
 Travel(c)1,6501,7151,701- 14- 1
 Other services2,8202,8252,8283-
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services credits(f)1,6611,7261,714- 12- 1

- 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
 Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Total goods debits- 30,374- 31,969- 31,160- 809- 3
 General merchandise debits- 29,900- 31,398- 30,646- 752- 2
  Consumption goods- 9,044- 9,715- 9,792771
  Capital goods- 7,465- 7,636- 7,257- 379- 5
  Intermediate and other merchandise goods- 13,392- 14,047- 13,597- 450- 3
 Non-monetary gold(b)- 474- 571- 514- 57- 10

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

Consumption goods

Consumption goods rose $77m (1%), driven by Food and beverages, mainly for consumption, up $69m (5%).  

Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Consumption goods- 9,044- 9,715- 9,792771
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption- 1,327- 1,333- 1,402695
 Household electrical items- 560- 575- 612376
 Non-industrial transport equipment- 1,782- 2,241- 2,265241
 Textiles, clothing and footwear- 1,700- 1,718- 1,680- 38- 2
 Toys, books and leisure goods- 640- 703- 664- 39- 6
 Consumption goods n.e.s.- 3,035- 3,145- 3,168231

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

Capital goods

Capital goods fell $379m (5%), driven by Telecommunications equipment, down $172m (13%) and Capital goods n.e.s., down $162m (30%). 

Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Capital goods-7,465-7,636-7,257-379-5
 Machinery and industrial equipment-2,197-2,248-2,306583
 ADP equipment-1,186-1,289-1,2912-
 Telecommunications equipment-1,177-1,367-1,195-172-13
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-752-784-755-29-4
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-1,344-1,403-1,327-76-5
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-809-545-383-162-30

- 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 fell $450m (3%), driven by Other parts for capital goods, down $125m (7%). 

Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-13,392-14,047- 13,597- 450- 3
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry- 198- 197- 20363
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.(b)- 487- 206- 184- 22- 11
 Fuels and lubricants(c)- 3,509- 3,639- 3,543- 96- 3
 Parts for transport equipment- 1,189- 1,254- 1,222- 32- 3
 Parts for ADP equipment- 87- 90- 90--
 Other parts for capital goods- 1,752- 1,913- 1,788- 125- 7
 Organic and inorganic chemicals- 428- 640- 570- 70- 11
 Paper and paperboard- 200- 222- 183- 39- 18
 Textile yarn and fabrics- 140- 153- 140- 13- 8
 Iron and steel- 489- 515- 478- 37- 7
 Plastics- 466- 538- 480- 58- 11
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.- 4,374- 4,621- 4,693722
 Other merchandise goods(d)- 68- 53- 17- 36- 68
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(e)- 5- 5- 5--

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells). 
(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
 Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 ($m)Dec-21 to Jan-22 (%)
Total services debits- 4,925- 4,972- 5,1992275
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(b)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(b)- 55- 25- 30520
 Transport- 1,983- 2,038- 2,1941568
  Passenger(c)(d)- 116- 109- 1403128
  Freight- 1,836- 1,897- 2,0211247
  Other(b)- 19- 19- 16- 3- 16
  Postal and courier services(e)(f)- 12- 12- 18650
 Travel(d)- 102- 117- 116- 1- 1
 Other services- 2,785- 2,792- 2,859672
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services debits(g)- 218- 226- 2563013

- 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. 

Supplementary information

Selected commodities

Selected commodities, quantities (a)
 Aug-21 (%)Sep-21 (%)Oct-21 (%)Nov-21 (%)Dec-21 (%)Jan-22 (%)
Iron ore - Lump93- 15168- 16
Iron ore - Fines46- 2- 615- 8
Coal - Hard coking15- 97- 1064
Coal - Semi-soft211- 6- 5- 1411
Coal - Thermal- 4- 5- 7- 1410
Gas - LNG2- 23- 3-- 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 commodities, unit values (a)
 Aug-21 (%)Sep-21 (%)Oct-21 (%)Nov-21 (%)Dec-21 (%)Jan-22 (%)
Iron ore - Lump- 21- 27- 7- 13818
Iron ore - Fines- 21- 26- 20- 131422
Coal - Hard coking17203015- 10- 26
Coal - Semi-soft14122419- 5- 11
Coal - Thermal1581912- 127
Gas - LNG891012- 11

(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 December 2021 and January 2022 the largest movements recorded for the following selected commodities were:

Iron ore (lump), movement by country, Dec-21 to Jan-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement- 13-- 1618
Japan- 111- 24- 23- 2
Korea, Republic of (South)- 107- 48- 34- 21
Indonesia221 14972851
Hong Kong (SAR of China)95---
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)1217- 1728

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

Iron ore (fines), movement by country, Dec-21 to Jan-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement83913- 822
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)82516- 1131
Hong Kong (SAR of China)206---
Taiwan397172-
Japan- 90- 178- 23
Korea, Republic of (South)- 142- 25- 5- 20

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

Hard coking (high rank) coal, Dec-21 to Jan-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement- 862- 244- 26
Korea, Republic of (South)- 310- 48- 36- 19
India- 253- 227- 28
Japan- 167- 27- 1- 27
Vietnam- 139- 48- 26- 30
France (includes Andorra and Monaco)14573741862

 

Semi soft coal, movement by country, Dec-21 to Jan-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement- 14- 111- 11
Japan- 107- 22- 2- 20
Vietnam- 35- 46- 46-
Indonesia- 20- 100- 100-
India21818- 8
Korea, Republic of (South)14381101-10

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

Thermal Coal, movement by country, Dec-21 to Jan-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement56418107
Japan44329253
Taiwan153583616
Indonesia6432422630
Thailand- 63-56-52-8
Vietnam- 89- 58- 41- 29
Liquid Natural Gas, total movement, Dec-21 to Jan-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement-327-5-71

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
 Jul-21 ($m)Aug-21 ($m)Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)
Iron ore lump-15-65-20-1010-50
Iron ore fines5-80-4020955200

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 January (+$1,315m) 2022. This adjustment takes into account additional information on the unit value of hard coking, semi-soft and thermal coal exports. To maintain consistency with the December quarter 2021 issue of Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia released on 1 March 2022, previous adjustments have remained for September (+$5m), October (+$5m), November (+$55m) and December (+$1,020m) 2021. 

In the international merchandise trade series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes fell 9.7% between November and December 2021 and fell 11.4% between December 2021 and January 2022. 

In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes fell 9.6% between November and December 2021 and rose 3.9% between December 2021 and January 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

Since the previous issue of this publication, revisions have been made to align with the data published in the December quarter 2021 issue of Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia, released on 1 March, 2022 and Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, released on 2 March, 2022. On an international merchandise trade basis, goods exports and imports have been revised back to July 2021.

The following goods components have been revised since the release of the December 2021 issue of International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia:

  • Other mineral fuels, revised back to November 2021 
  • Capital goods n.e.s., revised back to October 2021. 

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:

  • increased the surplus on goods and services for 2021-2022 by $698m.

 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.

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