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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
June 2021
Released
5/08/2021

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus increased $1,227m to $10,496m in June.
  • Goods and services credits (exports) rose $1,489m (4%) to $43,337m.
  • Goods and services debits (imports) rose $261m (1%) to $32,840m.

Main features

Key Figures, Seasonally Adjusted
  Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Balance on goods and services8 3809 26910 4961 227na
 Credits (Exports of goods & services)40 05641 84843 3371 4894
 Debits (Imports of goods & services)-31 675-32 579-32 8402611

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.

Cessation of International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia

The release of preliminary data on Australia's international trade in goods on an original, current price, merchandise trade basis, has been discontinued with the June 2021 release, published on 22 July 2021. For more information, see Changes to ABS statistical work program. International merchandise trade data will continue to be available monthly in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia.

Balance on goods and services

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $10,496m in June 2021, an increase of $1,227m on the surplus in May 2021. 

Balance on goods and services(a), seasonally adjusted
   Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Balance on goods and services8 3809 26910 4961 227na
 Total goods and services credits40 05641 84843 3371 4894
  Total goods credits35 30136 91138 2451 3344
  Total services credits4 7554 9375 0911543
 Total goods and services debits-31 675-32 579-32 8402611
  Total goods debits-27 481-28 146-28 3622161
  Total services debits-4 194-4 433-4 478451

na not applicable
(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
 Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Total goods credits35 30136 91138 2451 3344
 General merchandise33 48835 05736 0651 0083
  Rural goods4 1934 3504 6503007
  Non-rural goods29 29530 70731 4167092
 Net exports of goods under merchanting(a)373737--
 Non-monetary gold(a)1 7761 8172 14332618

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

Rural goods

Rural goods rose $300m (7%), led by cereal grains and cereal preparations, which increased 11% in June to a record $1,198m. Australian wheat exports remain high following recent strong crop harvests and reduced global supply. 

Rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Rural goods4 1934 3504 6503007
 Meat and meat preparations1 1561 1731 220474
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations9591 0761 19812211
 Wool and sheepskins2593023484615
 Other rural(a)1 8191 7991 884855

(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 $709m (2.3%), driven by metal ores and minerals. Iron ore led the increase, with both quantity and price up due to ongoing strong demand from China. Copper ore prices increased in the midst of limited global supply. 

Coal, coke and briquettes also rose, driven by increased thermal coal prices as a result of high demand from Japan and South Korea.

 

Non-rural goods, seasonally adjusted
  Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Non-rural goods29 29530 70731 4167092
 Metal ores and minerals16 37617 87518 2183432
 Coal, coke and briquettes3 6203 5513 7281775
 Other mineral fuels3 8913 9294 027982
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)1 1191 1041 019- 85- 8
 Machinery922935946111
 Transport equipment3443403905015
 Other manufactures1 9051 7211 792714
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(a)9381 0621 106444
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(b)17918919011

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

For price and volume 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
 Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Total services credits4 7554 9375 0911543
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(a)222--
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(a)155--
 Transport33034635041
  Passenger(b)(c)132933414
  Freight(d)212120- 1- 5
  Other165166166--
  Postal and courier services(e)130131131--
 Travel(c)1 8842 0132 1391266
 Other services2 5382 5712 596251
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services credits(f)1 8982 0422 1721306

- 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
 Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Total goods debits-27 481-28 146-28 3622161
 General merchandise debits-26 955-27 261-27 7995382
  Consumption goods-9 699-9 802-9 735- 67- 1
  Capital goods-6 540-6 738-7 2174797
  Intermediate and other merchandise goods-10 717-10 720-10 8481281
 Non-monetary gold(b)- 526- 885- 563- 322- 36

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

Consumption goods

Consumption goods fell $67m (1%), led by decreases in textiles, clothing and footwear and toys, books and leisure goods. Partially offsetting the decrease was a rise in non-industrial transport equipment, driven by passenger vehicle imports.

Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Consumption goods-9 699-9 802-9 735- 67- 1
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption-1 377-1 405-1 384- 21- 1
 Household electrical items- 615- 634- 627- 7- 1
 Non-industrial transport equipment-2 515-2 297-2 385884
 Textiles, clothing and footwear-1 616-1 796-1 737- 59- 3
 Toys, books and leisure goods- 646- 645- 604- 41- 6
 Consumption goods n.e.s.-2 929-3 025-2 998- 27- 1

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

Capital goods

Capital goods rose $479m, driven by increased demand for industrial transport equipment supported by returning supply as COVID-19-related restrictions eased in key manufacturing countries.

Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Capital goods-6,540-6,738-7,2174797
 Machinery and industrial equipment-2,318-2,365-2,5211567
 ADP equipment-928-968-918-50-5
 Telecommunications equipment-1,090-1,034-1,028-6-1
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-191-274-3406624
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-1,234-1,116-1,52340736
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-779-982-887-95-10

(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 $128m (1%), led by fuels and lubricants. The rise in fuels and lubricants was driven by increased demand for diesel and kerosene.

Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-10 717-10 720-10 8481281
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry-174-174-151-23-13
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.(b)-190-186-2122614
 Fuels and lubricants-2 671-2 487-2 98249520
 Parts for transport equipment-1 084-1 178-1 161-17-1
 Parts for ADP equipment-75-80-80--
 Other parts for capital goods-1 580-1 654-1 554-100-6
 Organic and inorganic chemicals-314-317-328113
 Paper and paperboard-178-184-18511
 Textile yarn and fabrics-140-143-142-1-1
 Iron and steel-268-279-267-12-4
 Plastics-415-440-44551
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.-3 537-3 459-3 304-155-4
 Other merchandise goods(c)-85-137-34-103-75
 Goods procured in ports by carriers-5-3-3--

- 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) 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.

Services debits

(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

Services debits(a), seasonally adjusted
 Apr-21 ($m)May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 ($m)May-21 to Jun-21 (%)
Total services debits-4 194-4 433-4 478451
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(b)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(b)- 37- 42- 4537
 Transport-1 279-1 309-1 365564
  Passenger(c)(d)- 68- 83- 76- 7- 8
  Freight-1 185-1 199-1 263645
  Other(b)- 15- 15- 15--
  Postal and courier services(e)(f)- 12- 12- 12--
 Travel(d)- 129- 305- 293- 12- 4
 Other services-2 749-2 777-2 774- 3-
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services debits(g)- 197- 388- 369- 19- 5

- 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)
 Jan-21 (%)Feb-21 (%)Mar-21 (%)Apr-21 (%)May-21 (%)Jun-21 (%)
Iron ore - Lump- 13- 919- 813- 2
Iron ore - Fines- 13- 515- 473
Coal - Hard coking- 21- 1121- 13- 1
Coal - Semi-soft13-- 1811- 19
Coal - Thermal- 7- 6- 151311- 3
Gas - LNG-- 515- 2- 14- 4

- 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)
 Jan-21 (%)Feb-21 (%)Mar-21 (%)Apr-21 (%)May-21 (%)Jun-21 (%)
Iron ore - Lump1315795
Iron ore - Fines4-2495
Coal - Hard coking2911- 10- 425
Coal - Semi-soft3827-2
Coal - Thermal12854- 114
Gas - LNG7- 1- 46518

- 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 May 2021 and June 2021 the largest movements recorded for the following selected commodities were:

Iron ore (lump), movement by country, May-21 to Jun-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement1253- 25
Korea, Republic of (South)102502618
Taiwan9344348
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)582- 35
Vietnam- 22- 31- 4219
Japan- 108- 19- 16- 3
Iron ore (fines), movement by country, May-21 to Jun-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement918835
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)959945
Japan38713- 6
Malaysia191448532
Netherlands- 32- 100- 100-
Vietnam- 75- 49- 6130

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)  

Hard coking (high rank) coal, movement by country, May-21 to Jun-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement33224- 125
Japan132613618
Korea, Republic of (South)66592923
Brazil45864131
India388- 1526
Indonesia3718914220
Semi soft coal, movement by country, May-21 to Jun-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement641192
Vietnam48439439-
Japan291415- 1
Argentina9---
Netherlands- 9- 100- 100-
Taiwan- 17- 36- 394

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)  

Thermal coal, movement by country, May-21 to Jun-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement16410- 314
Japan16829253
Korea, Republic of (South)103351319
Taiwan3615114
Indonesia2892816
India- 59- 34- 4316
Liquid Natural Gas, total movement, May-21 to Jun-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement36914-418

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
 Dec-20($m)Jan-21($m)Feb-21($m)Mar-21($m)Apr-21($m)May-21($m)Jun-21($m)
Iron ore lump-15-5255-303580
Iron ore fines303530-50-30-10875

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 March ($5m) and June (-$195m) 2021. 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 2.9% between April 2021 and May 2021 and rose 16.4% between May 2021 and June 2021.

In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes fell 2.9% between April 2021 and May 2021 and rose 10.9% between May 2021 and June 2021.

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 December 2020.

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

Goods exports back to December 2020

Goods imports back to December 2020

Services exports back to February 2021

Services imports back to January 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 decreased the surplus on goods and services for 2020-21 by $355m.

 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.
 

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