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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
November 2021
Released
11/01/2022
  • Next Release 3/02/2022
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, December 2021
  • Next Release 3/03/2022
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, January 2022
  • Next Release 7/04/2022
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, February 2022
  • View all releases

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus decreased $1,358m to $9,423m in November.
  • Goods and services credits (exports) rose $691m (2%) to $43,859m driven by a rise in exports of Other rural.
  • Goods and services debits (imports) rose $2,049m (6%) to $34,436m driven by a rise in imports of Primary industrial supplies n.e.s..

Main features

Key Figures, Seasonally Adjusted
  Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Balance on goods and services11,55210,7819,423- 1,358na
 Credits (Exports of goods & services)44,53643,16843,8596912
 Debits (Imports of goods & services)- 32,985- 32,387- 34,4362,0496

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. 

Balance on goods and services

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $9,423m in November 2021, a decrease of $1,358m on the surplus in October 2021. 

Balance on goods and services(a), seasonally adjusted
   Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Balance on goods and services11,55210,7819,423- 1,358na
 Total goods and services credits44,53643,16843,8596912
  Total goods credits39,49138,46239,0445822
  Total services credits5,0454,7074,8151082
 Total goods and services debits- 32,985- 32,387- 34,4362,0496
  Total goods debits- 28,289- 27,758- 29,4971,7396
  Total services debits- 4,696- 4,630- 4,9393097

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
 Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Total goods credits39,49138,46239,0445822
 General merchandise38,03036,13337,0409073
  Rural goods4,9285,0835,74366013
  Non-rural goods33,10231,04931,2972481
 Net exports of goods under merchanting(a)233232--
 Non-monetary gold(a)1,4382,2971,972- 325- 14

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

Rural goods

Rural goods rose $660m (13%), driven by Other rural, which increased $412m (21%). Favourable domestic weather conditions over the last 12 months continue to support exports of rural goods.

 

Rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Rural goods4,9285,0835,74366013
 Meat and meat preparations1,3501,3461,400544
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations1,1911,5021,67517312
 Wool and sheepskins264292312207
 Other rural(a)2,1241,9442,35641221

(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 248m (1%), driven by Other non rural (incl. sugar and beverages), up $324m (32%), led by multiple confidentialised commodities. 

 

Non-rural goods, seasonally adjusted
  Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Non-rural goods33,10231,04931,2972481
 Metal ores and minerals(a)14,50111,44811,275- 173- 2
 Coal, coke and briquettes(a)6,5287,6177,255- 362- 5
 Other mineral fuels(a)6,4176,9306,877- 53- 1
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)1,0659411,20426328
 Machinery94384794910212
 Transport equipment317304327238
 Other manufactures1,8861,7291,8571287
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(b)1,2331,0161,34032432
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(c)211217214- 3- 1

(a) Prior to August 2021, the July 2005 to June 2019 component of this series was seasonally adjusted using seasonal factors derived from a monthly volume series. From August 2021, this component is directly adjusted from July 2005 onward.
(b) For all time periods, estimates for sugar, sugar preparations and honey are included in Other non-rural. 
(c) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern.

 

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
 Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Total services credits5,0454,7074,8151082
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(a)333--
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(a)444--
 Transport295309319103
  Passenger(b)(c)1111101,000
  Freight(d)232424--
  Other157162162--
  Postal and courier services(e)114122122--
 Travel(c)1,8431,5961,664684
 Other services2,9002,7952,824291
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services credits(f)1,8441,5971,675785

- 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 (a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Total goods debits- 28,289- 27,758- 29,4971,7396
 General merchandise debits- 27,890- 27,396- 29,0231,6276
  Consumption goods- 8,827- 8,672- 8,9562843
  Capital goods- 7,216- 6,641- 7,0894487
  Intermediate and other merchandise goods- 11,846- 12,083- 12,9788957
 Non-monetary gold(b)- 399- 362- 47411231

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

Consumption goods

Consumption goods rose $284m (3%), driven by Household electrical items, up $90m (20%). 

Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Consumption goods- 8,827- 8,672- 8,9562843
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption- 1,358- 1,271- 1,328574
 Household electrical items- 566- 454- 5449020
 Non-industrial transport equipment- 1,609- 1,745- 1,802573
 Textiles, clothing and footwear- 1,690- 1,694- 1,681- 13- 1
 Toys, books and leisure goods- 658- 613- 62071
 Consumption goods n.e.s.- 2,946- 2,894- 2,981873

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

Capital goods

Capital goods rose $448m (7%), driven by Civil aircraft and confidentialised items, up $229m (46%).

Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Capital goods-7,216-6,641-7,0894487
 Machinery and industrial equipment-2,308-2,243-2,202-41-2
 ADP equipment-1,198-1,106-1,170646
 Telecommunications equipment-1,053-1,039-1,15511611
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-502-503-73222946
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-1,143-1,113-1,32521219
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-1,013-637-504-133-21

(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 $895m (7%), driven by Primary industrial supplies n.e.s., up $291m (148%). 

Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods- 11,846-12,083-12,9788957
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry- 168- 185- 198137
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.(b)- 161- 196- 487291148
 Fuels and lubricants(c)- 2,966- 3,256- 3,221- 35- 1
 Parts for transport equipment- 1,224- 1,160- 1,180202
 Parts for ADP equipment- 75- 84- 8511
 Other parts for capital goods- 1,663- 1,624- 1,702785
 Organic and inorganic chemicals- 351- 350- 4207020
 Paper and paperboard- 195- 196- 19932
 Textile yarn and fabrics- 142- 135- 14054
 Iron and steel- 377- 387- 52213535
 Plastics- 429- 440- 462225
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.- 4,058- 4,032- 4,3002687
 Other merchandise goods(e)- 29- 32- 602888
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(d)- 7- 4- 5125

(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 was not seasonally adjusted.
(d) Prior to April 2010, this series was not seasonally adjusted.
(e) 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
 Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 ($m)Oct-21 to Nov-21 (%)
Total services debits- 4,696- 4,630- 4,9393097
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(b)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(b)- 38- 46- 55920
 Transport- 1,662- 1,719- 1,99127216
  Passenger(c)(b)- 64- 73- 1194663
  Freight- 1,575- 1,617- 1,84222514
  Other(b)- 13- 19- 19--
  Postal and courier services(e)(f)- 10- 11- 11--
 Travel(d)- 74- 82- 1254352
 Other services- 2,923- 2,782- 2,767- 15- 1
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services debits(g)- 137- 155- 2448957

- 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)
 Jun-21 (%)Jul-21 (%)Aug-21 (%)Sep-21 (%)Oct-21 (%)Nov-21 (%)
Iron ore - Lump- 2- 11102- 1516
Iron ore - Fines3- 846- 2- 6
Coal - Hard coking2- 1815- 97- 11
Coal - Semi-soft16- 10211-- 6
Coal - Thermal- 115- 4- 5- 72
Gas - LNG- 2222- 24- 2

(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)
 Jun-21 (%)Jul-21 (%)Aug-21 (%)Sep-21 (%)Oct-21 (%)Nov-21 (%)
Iron ore - Lump71- 19- 26- 11- 13
Iron ore - Fines71- 19- 25- 24- 13
Coal - Hard coking1134192027- 13
Coal - Semi-soft419161216- 4
Coal - Thermal1515158186
Gas - LNG1616810611

(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 October 2021 and November 2021 the largest movements recorded for the following selected commodities were:

Iron ore (lump), movement by country, Oct-21 to Nov-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement9-16- 13
Hong Kong (SAR of China)74---
Japan632334- 8
Vietnam- 34- 62- 57- 12
Taiwan- 36- 33- 26- 10
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)- 64- 412- 14
Iron ore (fines), movement by country, Oct-21 to Nov-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement-1 160- 19- 6- 13
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)-1 158- 24- 9- 16
Korea, Republic of (South)- 54- 103- 13
Indonesia- 50- 94- 93- 21
Vietnam- 23- 35- 31- 6
Hong Kong (SAR of China)126---
Hard coking (high rank) coal, Oct-21 to Nov-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement- 828- 23- 11- 13
India- 874- 54- 36- 28
Taiwan- 135- 54- 39- 24
Netherlands- 119- 40- 17- 28
Turkey9710516-
France (includes Andorra and Monaco)1182822664
Semi soft coal, movement by country, Oct-21 to Nov-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement- 123- 10- 6- 4
India- 114- 33- 4- 30
Brazil- 64- 97- 95- 27
Korea, Republic of (South)- 37- 19- 5- 14
Vietnam511096030
Japan751920-
Thermal Coal, movement by country, Oct-21 to Nov-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement249826
Korea, Republic of (South)3281519330
Japan97613- 6
India- 71- 31- 4321
Taiwan- 89- 18- 202
Indonesia- 91- 82- 849
Liquid Natural Gas, total movement, Oct-21 to Nov-21
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement4558-211

- 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
 May-21($m)Jun-21($m)Jul-21($m)Aug-21($m)Sep-21($m)Oct-21($m)Nov-21($m)
Iron ore lump-5-50-225-60-15-280
Iron ore fines-5-15-45-445-19565-580

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 September (+$15m) and October (+$50m) 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 rose 23.9% between September 2021 and October 2021 and fell 5.7% between October 2021 and November 2021.

In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes rose 24.4% between September 2021 and October 2021 and fell 6.3% between October 2021 and November 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 April 2021.

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

  • Good exports back to September 2020
  • Good imports back to October 2020
  • Services exports back to July 2020
  • Services imports back to July 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 $255m
  • decreased the surplus on goods and services for 2021-22 by $1,442m.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.

Data downloads

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