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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
October 2020
Released
3/12/2020
Future releases
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    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, November 2021
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    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, November 2020
  • Next Release 4/02/2021
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, December 2020
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Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus increased $1,641m to $7,456m in October. 
  • Exports of goods and services rose $1,819m (5%) to $35,720m.
  • Imports of goods and services rose $178m (1%) to $28,264m.

Main features

Key figures, Seasonally adjusted
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Balance on goods and services3 0145 8157 4561 641n/a
Goods and services credits33 04133 90135 7201 8195
Goods and services debits-30 027-28 086-28 2641781

n/a not applicable

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COVID-19 in this publication

COVID-19 in October 2020

Quality assurance undertaken by the ABS confirmed that COVID-19 did not result in quality impacts to International Trade in Goods and Services statistics for October 2020. For information on the expected economic impacts of COVID-19, please see the ABS Chief Economist Series paper Measuring natural disasters in the Australian economy.

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 current COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent changes to regular patterns in international trade that will occur during this time. 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 in the time series and will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in international trade.

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 the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.

The ABS has advised users that it had 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 the 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.

Balance on goods and services

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $7,456m in October 2020, an increase of $1,641m on the surplus in September 2020.

Goods and services summary (a), Seasonally adjusted
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Balance on goods and services3 0145 8157 4561 641n/a
Total goods and services credits33 04133 90135 7201 8195
Total goods credits27 95828 70130 5451 8446
Total services credits5 0835 2005 175-25-
Total goods and services debits-30 027-28 086-28 2641781
Total goods debits-26 287-24 410-24 5721621
Total services debits-3 740-3 677-3 69215-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

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

 

Exports of goods and services (credits)

Exports of goods

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019.

Goods credits, Seasonally adjusted
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Total goods credits27 95828 70130 5451 8446
General merchandise26 56226 31428 5212 2078
Rural goods3 2573 2153 4792648
Non-rural goods23 30523 09925 0431 9448
Net exports of goods under merchanting (a)16183618100
Non-monetary gold (a)1 3802 3691 988-381-16

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

(a) This component is not seasonally adjusted.

Rural goods

Rural goods
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Total rural goods3 2573 2153 4792648
Meat and meat preparations1 1591 0741 172989
Cereal grains and cereal preparations40042442731
Wool and sheepskins1811631801710
Other rural (a)1 5161 5541 6991459

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

Non-rural goods

Non-rural goods
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Non-rural goods23 30523 09925 0431 9448
Metal ores and minerals12 34712 24813 9671 71914
Coal, coke and briquettes3 2303 2213 152-69-2
Other mineral fuels2 8812 7642 757-7-
Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)965920988687
Machinery845800857577
Transport equipment2732983666823
Other manufactures1 7431 7501 780302
Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(a)(b)8989801 0749410
Goods procured in ports by carriers124117103-14-12

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

(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.

Exports of services

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

Services credits, Seasonally adjusted
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Total services credits5 0835 2005 175-25-
Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(a)-----
Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(a)111--
Transport329328326-2-1
Transport - Passenger(b)322--
Transport - Freight(c)24242514
Transport - Other16216316411
Transport - Postal and courier services(d)139138135-3-2
Travel2 4162 5212 550291
Other services2 3372 3492 297-52-2
Tourism related services credits(e)2 4192 5242 552281

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

(a) This component is not seasonally adjusted. 
(b) Passenger services includes agency fees and commissions for air transport. 
(c) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern. 
(d) Postal and courier services includes indirect commissions for sea transport. 
(e) For a more detailed explanation of tourism related services, see the Explanatory notes. 

Imports of goods and services (debits)

Imports of goods

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

Goods debits (a), Seasonally adjusted
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Total goods debits-26 287-24 410-24 5721621
General merchandise debits-25 076-23 703-24 0973942
Consumption goods-9 266-8 917-9 0641472
Capital goods-6 100-5 885-5 980952
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-9 710-8 901-9 0531522
Non-monetary gold (b)-1 211-707-475-232-33

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

(b) This component is not seasonally adjusted.

Consumption goods

Consumption goods (a), Seasonally adjusted
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Total consumption goods-9 266-8 917-9 0641472
Food and beverages, mainly for consumption-1 382-1 338-1 376383
Household electrical items-664-613-538-75-12
Non-industrial transport equipment-1 789-1 820-1 918985
Textiles, clothing and footwear-1 914-1 710-1 7111-
Toys, books and leisure goods-581-565-591265
Consumption goods n.e.s.-2 937-2 870-2 929592

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

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

Capital goods

Capital goods (a), Seasonally adjusted
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Total capital goods-6 100-5 885-5 980952
Machinery and industrial equipment-2 090-2 090-2 047-43-2
ADP equipment-963-954-938-16-2
Telecommunications equipment-1 207-859-97711814
Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-105-247-114-133-54
Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-951-998-1 068707
Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-784-737-83710014

(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 (a), Seasonally adjusted
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Total intermediate and other merchandise goods-9 710-8 901-9 0531522
Food and beverages, mainly for industry-197-179-160-19-11
Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.-145-208-147-61-29
Fuels and lubricants(b)-2 118-1 731-1 782513
Parts for transport equipment-1 085-1 076-1 073-3-
Parts for ADP equipment-70-58-58--
Other parts for capital goods-1 617-1 446-1 58413810
Organic and inorganic chemicals-252-271-2721-
Paper and paperboard-179-167-17585
Textile yarn and fabrics-146-131-14097
Iron and steel-272-262-233-29-11
Plastics-337-323-319-4-1
Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.-3 114-3 006-3 080742
Other merchandise goods(c)(d)-166-28-21-7-25
Goods procured in ports by carriers(b)-11-15-10-5-33

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

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

(b) Seasonally adjusted from July 2019.

(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.

(d) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern.

Imports of services

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

Services debits (a), Seasonally adjusted
Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 ($m)Change Sep-20 - Oct-20 (%)
Total services debits-3 740-3 677-3 69215-
Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(b)-----
Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(b)-24-34-441029
Transport-978-910-969596
Transport - Passenger(c)-31-28-31311
Transport - Freight-929-865-921566
Transport - Other(b)-9-9-9--
Transport - Postal and courier services(d)(e)-9-9-8-1-11
Travel-50-41-50922
Other services-2 688-2 691-2 629-62-2
Tourism related services debits(f)-80-69-811217

- 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) Postal and courier services includes indirect commissions for sea transport. 
(e) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern. 
(f) For a more detailed explanation of tourism related services, see the Explanatory notes. 

Supplementary information

Selected commodities

Selected commodities, quantities (a)
May-20 (%)Jun-20 (%)Jul-20 (%)Aug-20 %)Sep-20 (%)Oct-20 (%)
Iron ore - Lump43-81-9
Iron ore - Fines29-111-1
Coal - Hard coking616-18-7-4
Coal - Semi-soft-16715--3-11
Coal - Thermal-211-1927-1816
Gas - LNG-9-9-14-615

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

Selected commodities, unit values (a)
May-20 (%)Jun-20 (%)Jul-20 (%)Aug 20 (%)Sep-20 (%)Oct-20 (%)
Iron ore - Lump2-1-651
Iron ore - Fines7-285-
Coal - Hard coking-19-18-5p-3p17p2
Coal - Semi-soft-14-16-p-p8p2
Coal - Thermal-10-9-6-71p1
Gas - LNG-8-16-12-25-36

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 
p preliminary figure or series subject to revision 
(a) Data in these tables are on a revised international merchandise trade basis and exclude 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 September 2020 to October 2020 the largest movements recorded for the following selected commodities were:

Iron ore lump, movement by country, September 2020 to October 2020
Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement2711091
Japan112614511
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)11055-
Hong Kong (SAR of China)60n/an/a-8

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

n/a not applicable

Iron ore fines, movement by country, September 2020 to October 2020
Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement10711-
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)21534-1
Japan6320613
Korea, Republic of (South)39945
Hong Kong (SAR of China)-62-24-241
Singapore-160-46-46-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

 

Hard coking (high rank) coal, movement by country, September 2020 to October 2020
Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement-30-2-42
Japan-59-21-243
Taiwan-48-44-44-1
Korea, Republic of (South)454548-1
Semi soft coal, movement by country, September 2020 to October 2020
Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement-50-9-112
India-57-36-383
Vietnam-18-71-65-16
Taiwan-12-24-24-
Korea, Republic of (South)3336323

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

Thermal coal, movement by country, September 2020 to October 2020
Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement18217161
Korea, Republic of (South)9054512
Japan591313-
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)39603519

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

Liquified natural gas, movement by country, September 2020 to October 2020
Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement39522156

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
Apr-20 ($m)May-20 ($m)Jun-20 ($m)Jul-20 ($m)Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)
Iron ore lump-555-5-595120
Iron ore fines4545704070120135

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 October (-$295m), September (-$265m) and August (-$235m) 2020. 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 rose 14.2% between August 2020 and September 2020 and fell 1.6% between September 2020 and October 2020.
  • In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes fell 3.5% between August 2020 and September 2020 and rose 8.0% between September 2020 and October 2020.

Capital expenditure (in original terms)

  • capital goods n.e.s. includes an estimate of expenditure on capital goods that have changed ownership but have not yet crossed the customs frontier.

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 not been made to original data on a balance of payments basis in order to align with the data published in the September quarter 2020 issue of Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia released on 1 December 2020 and Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, released on 2 December 2020. On an international merchandise trade basis, goods exports and imports have been revised back to April 2020.

Changes in this issue

Annual Seasonal Re-analysis

In this issue, the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of goods and services on a balance of payments basis have been revised as a result of the annual seasonal re-analysis. This re-analysis reviews the seasonal and trading day factors in more detail than is possible in the monthly processing cycle and reassesses the appropriateness of any prior corrections. As a result of the re-analysis, both Goods procured in port by carriers (debits) and Fuels and lubricants (debits) will be seasonally adjusted from July 2019. 

Changes to seasonal adjustment method of current price values of: coal, coke and briquettes, metal ores and minerals, and other mineral fuels

As part of an ongoing improvement program and the annual seasonal re-analysis within the International Accounts, from the October 2020 release of this publication, the following commodities that were previously seasonally adjusted based on a monthly volume series will be seasonally adjusted based on seasonal patterns of the current price series:
·    Metal, ores & minerals
·    Coal, coke & briquettes
·    Other mineral fuels. 

The change is applied from July 2019 onwards. Between July 2005 and June 2019 these series will continue to be seasonally adjusted using seasonal factors derived from a monthly volume series.   

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.
 

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