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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
July 2021
Released
2/09/2021
Future Releases
  • Next Release 5/10/2021
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, August 2021
  • Next Release 4/11/2021
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, September 2021
  • Next Release 2/12/2021
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, October 2021
  • View all releases

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus increased $1,003m to $12,117m in July.
  • Goods and services credits (exports) rose $2,090m (5%) to $45,951m.
  • Goods and services debits (imports) rose $1,087m (3%) to $33,834m.

Main features

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Key Figures, Seasonally Adjusted
  May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Balance on goods and services9 71811 11412 1171 003na
 Credits (Exports of goods & services)42 14443 86145 9512 0905
 Debits (Imports of goods & services)-32 426-32 747-33 8341 0873

na not applicable

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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 $12,117m in July 2021, an increase of $1,003m on the surplus in June 2021. 

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Balance on goods and services(a), seasonally adjusted
   May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Balance on goods and services9 71811 11412 1171 003na
 Total goods and services credits42 14443 86145 9512 0905
  Total goods credits37 21638 78141 2652 4846
  Total services credits4 9275 0804 686- 394- 8
 Total goods and services debits-32 426-32 747-33 8341 087 3
  Total goods debits-28 097-28 319-29 4951 176 4
  Total services debits-4 329-4 427-4 339- 88-2

na not applicable
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.

Goods and services credits (exports), seasonally adjusted

Goods credits

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019.

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Goods credits, seasonally adjusted
 May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Total goods credits37 21638 78141 2652 4846
 General merchandise35 36236 60139 1442 5437
  Rural goods4 3924 7084 9772696
  Non-rural goods30 97031 89234 1672 2757
 Net exports of goods under merchanting(a)373737--
 Non-monetary gold(a)1 8172 1432 084- 59- 3

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

Rural goods

Rural goods rose $269m (6%), led by other rural, which increased 8% in July. Australian cotton exports, in particular, were strong following high yield crops in 2021.

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Rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Rural goods4 3924 7084 9772696
 Meat and meat preparations1 1891 2431 342998
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations1 0701 1861 157- 29- 2
 Wool and sheepskins3113624054312
 Other rural(a)1 8231 9172 0731568

(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 $2,275m (7%), driven by other mineral fuels, metal ores and minerals and coal, coke and briquettes. 

The increases in other mineral fuels and coal, coke and briquettes were driven by LNG and thermal coal, respectively. Increased exports to Northern Asian countries coincided with an unseasonably warm northern summer.

The increase in metal ores and minerals was driven by iron ore on the back of strong demand from China.

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Non-rural goods, seasonally adjusted
  May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Non-rural goods30 97031 89234 1672 2757
 Metal ores and minerals17 99218 43819 0916534
 Coal, coke and briquettes3 5973 8234 43761416
 Other mineral fuels4 0014 1725 08691422
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)1 1071 0281 125979
 Machinery933942929- 13- 1
 Transport equipment337378331- 47- 12
 Other manufactures1 7291 8091 894855
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(a)1 0861 1091 077- 32- 3
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(b)18919119653

(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

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

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Services credits, seasonally adjusted
 May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Total services credits4 9275 0804 686- 394- 8
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(a)222--
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(a)555--
 Transport339343320- 23- 7
  Passenger(b)(c)232813- 15- 54
  Freight(d)21202115
  Other165165158- 7- 4
  Postal and courier services(e)131130127- 3- 2
 Travel(c)2 0132 1391 777- 362- 17
 Other services2 5682 5922 583- 9-
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services credits(f)2 0362 1671 789- 378- 17

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

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

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Goods debits (imports) (a), seasonally adjusted
 May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Total goods debits-28 097-28 319-29 4951 1764
 General merchandise debits-27 212-27 756-29 0581 3025
  Consumption goods-9 780-9 693-9 367- 326- 3
  Capital goods-6 700-7 212-7 166- 46- 1
  Intermediate and other merchandise goods-10 732-10 851-12 5251 67415
 Non-monetary gold(b)- 885- 563- 437- 126- 22

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

Consumption goods

Consumption goods fell $326m (3%), led by a decrease in consumption goods n.e.s.

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Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Consumption goods-9 780-9 693-9 367- 326- 3
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption-1 404-1 381-1 378- 3-
 Household electrical items- 629- 619- 563- 56- 9
 Non-industrial transport equipment-2 292-2 364-2 270- 94- 4
 Textiles, clothing and footwear-1 793-1 729-1 661- 68- 4
 Toys, books and leisure goods- 641- 611- 6121-
 Consumption goods n.e.s.-3 021-2 989-2 884- 105- 4

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.

Capital goods

Capital goods fell $46m, driven by industrial transport equipment n.e.s, down $287m and machinery industrial equipment, down $125m.

The decrease in industrial transport equipment n.e.s was driven by falls in motor vehicles for transporting goods and other industrial transport equipment.

The decrease in machinery and industrial equipment included falls in categories such as mechanical appliances, generators and static converters and agricultural machinery. 

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Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Capital goods-6,700-7,212-7,166-46-1
 Machinery and industrial equipment-2,360-2,485-2,360-125-5
 ADP equipment-967-921-1,19727630
 Telecommunications equipment-1,032-1,027-1,070434
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-274-340-339-1-
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-1,075-1,538-1,251-287-19
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-993-901-949485

- 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 $1,674m (15%), led by other parts for capital goods and processed industrial supplies n.e.s. 

The $1,259m increase in other parts for capital goods was driven by parts and accessories for telecommunications equipment.

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Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-10 732-10 851-12 5251,67415
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry-173-150-1651510
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.(d)-195-227-2633616
 Fuels and lubricants(c)-2 486-2 965-2 963-2-
 Parts for transport equipment-1 183-1 171-1 248777
 Parts for ADP equipment-79-78-71-7-9
 Other parts for capital goods-1 646-1 561-2 8201,25981
 Organic and inorganic chemicals-317-323-297-26-8
 Paper and paperboard-185-188-199116
 Textile yarn and fabrics-142-143-14521
 Iron and steel-278-265-27052
 Plastics-433-435-421-14-3
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.-3 466-3 303-3 5692668
 Other merchandise goods(c)(e)-137-34-9056165
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(b)-9-9-5-4-44

- 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.
(e) This component is not seasonally adjusted

Services debits

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

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Services debits(a), seasonally adjusted
 May-21 ($m)Jun-21 ($m)Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 ($m)Jun-21 to Jul-21 (%)
Total services debits-4 329-4 427-4 339- 88- 2
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(b)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(b)- 42- 45- 54920
 Transport-1 313-1 375-1 428534
  Passenger(c)(d)- 79- 75- 67- 8- 11
  Freight-1 207-1 274-1 336625
  Other(b)- 15- 15- 14- 1- 7
  Postal and courier services(e)(f)- 12- 12- 10- 2- 17
 Travel(d)- 269- 265- 166- 99- 37
 Other services-2 705-2 743-2 691- 52- 2
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services debits(g)- 348- 339- 233- 106- 31

- 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. 

Australian System of National Accounts historical revisions (September Quarter)

Statistical revisions are carried out regularly in the Australian System of National Accounts to reflect the most current information and estimation methods. Periodically the ABS will revise a longer annual time series, which is often referred to as “historical revisions".  These longer time series revisions focus on improving data quality (e.g. incorporating cyclical data collections such as the Census); adopting new classifications; and improving international comparability. 
The next major historical revisions to National Accounts are scheduled to be published in the International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia on 05 October 2021.  These revisions will incorporate the following improvements:

Visa application charges source improvements and reclassification - data for visa application charges is now sourced from the Department of Home Affairs, and from 2015-16 onwards, revenue obtained from visa application charges is now treated as tax revenue rather than the sale of a service.  This change brings the treatment of visa application charges in the National Accounts into alignment with Government Finance Statistics, as described in the Government Finance Statistics publication.
Travel services imports - new data sources and method for estimating imports of travel service are incorporated into the National Accounts, Balance of Payments, and Trade in Goods and Services statistics.

Supplementary information

Selected commodities

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Selected commodities, quantities (a)
 Feb-21 (%)Mar-21 (%)Apr-21 (%)May-21 (%)Jun-21 (%)Jul-21 (%)
Iron ore - Lump- 920- 812- 2- 9
Iron ore - Fines- 515- 473- 8
Coal - Hard coking- 1121- 13-- 15
Coal - Semi-soft-- 1811- 212- 10
Coal - Thermal- 6- 151311- 117
Gas - LNG- 515- 2- 15- 323

- 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.

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Selected commodities, unit values (a)
 Feb-21 (%)Mar-21 (%)Apr-21 (%)May-21 (%)Jun-21 (%)Jul-21 (%)
Iron ore - Lump249869
Iron ore - Fines-25972
Coal - Hard coking911- 10- 42611
Coal - Semi-soft828-28
Coal - Thermal853- 11610
Gas - LNG- 1- 4641914

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 
p preliminary figure or series subject to revision
(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:

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Iron ore (lump), movement by country, Jun-21 to Jul-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement- 69- 1- 99
Korea, Republic of (South)- 188- 48- 47- 3
Taiwan- 145- 48- 5310
Vietnam- 54- 100- 100-
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)1605- 49
Japan162342012
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Iron ore (fines), movement by country, Jun-21 to Jul-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement- 824- 6- 82
Korea, Republic of (South)- 347- 43- 454
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)- 192- 2- 32
Indonesia- 163- 100- 100-
Japan- 75- 12- 176
Malaysia- 30- 94- 94- 2
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Hard coking (high rank) coal, Jun-21 to Jul-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement- 90- 5- 1511
Japan- 178- 51- 523
Turkey- 52- 77- 8224
Brazil- 47- 48- 5414
India488- 211
Korea, Republic of (South)69392016
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Semi soft coal, movement by country, Jun-21 to Jul-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement- 16- 3- 108
Japan- 35- 15- 218
Vietnam- 33- 56- 6732
Taiwan14493311
Netherlands23---
Korea, Republic of (South)4030208
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Thermal Coal, movement by country, Jun-21 to Jul-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement534291710
Japan196241310
Taiwan164553912
Korea, Republic of (South)8120173
Vietnam31705212
Singapore24---
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Liquid Natural Gas, total movement, Jun-21 to Jul-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement1,221402314

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.

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Iron Ore Adjustment, Original Terms
 Jan-21($m)Feb-21($m)Mar-21($m)Apr-21($m)May-21($m)Jun-21($m)Jul-21($m)
Iron ore lump-5205651075-30
Iron ore fines-520-105570330370

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 July (-$130m) 2021. 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 June quarter 2021 issue of Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia released on 31 August 2021, previous adjustments have remained for March ($5m) and June (-$195m) 2021. 

In the international merchandise trade series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes rose 17.8% between May 2021 and June 2021 and rose 7.4% between June 2021 and July 2021.

In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes rose 8.1% between May 2021 and June 2021 and rose 13.9% between June 2021 and July 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

There have been no revisions to International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia since the last issue of this publication, to maintain consistency with the June quarter 2021 issue of Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia released on 31 August 2021. On an international merchandise trade basis, exports and imports of goods have been revised back to January 2021.

 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.
 

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