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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
March 2022
Released
5/05/2022
  • Next Release 2/06/2022
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, April 2022
  • Next Release 7/07/2022
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, May 2022
  • Next Release 4/08/2022
    International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, June 2022
  • View all releases

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus increased $1,877m to $9,314m in March. 
  • Goods and services debits (imports) fell $1,949m (5%) to $40,139m, driven by decreases in imports of Processed industrial supplies n.e.s and Consumption goods n.e.s..
  • Goods and services credits (exports) fell $72m (0%) to $49,453m, driven by falls in exports of Non-monetary gold and Cereal grains and cereal preparations. 

Main features

Key Figures, Seasonally Adjusted
  Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22
($m)
Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Balance on goods and services12,4077,4379,3141,877na
 Credits (Exports of goods & services)49,50649,52549,453-72-
 Debits (Imports of goods & services)-37,099-42,088-40,139-1,949-5

na not applicable
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

 

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

Upcoming changes to the International Merchandise Trade: Confidential Commodities List

The March 2022 reference month (released 28th April 2022) was the final issue of the International Merchandise Trade: Confidential Commodities List publication. From the April 2022 reference month the International merchandise trade: Confidential Commodities List (Tables 1-4) datacube will be available as an additional download in the monthly International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia publication (released 2nd June 2022).

The Confidential Commodities List (CCL) is needed to interpret the impact of confidentiality on merchandise trade statistics in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia and other international trade in good statistics. This change improves interpretability of the monthly data at the time it is released.

Review of seasonal adjustment

In early 2020 the ABS advised that the method used to produce seasonally adjusted estimates would be changed from the ‘concurrent adjustment’ method to the ‘forward factors’ method for series with significant and prolonged impacts from COVID-19. Given the ongoing disruption during the COVID-19 period and continuing use of forward factors, extraordinary annual reviews of seasonally adjusted series are progressively being undertaken across the ABS statistics programs. 

The extraordinary annual review process assesses each series individually to determine how observations from 2020 and 2021 should be treated and determine the most appropriate approach (concurrent adjustment or forward factors) for estimating seasonal adjustment factors in the immediate future. Revisions arising from the annual review are relatively minor for most series, but series which have used forward factors are likely to have larger revisions because the seasonal factor estimates are annually updated to incorporate information from the previous year's observations. 
The outcome of the review for Balance of Payments statistics is that the forward factor method will continue to be used for the Travel Services (credits and debits) and Transport - passenger (credits and debits) series. New forward factors have been calculated for the next 12 months and will be used from March 2022. 

Further information can be found here.

Balance on goods and services

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $9,314m in March 2022, an increase of $1,877m on the surplus in February 2022. 

 

Balance on goods and services(a), seasonally adjusted
   Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Balance on goods and services12,4077,4379,3141,877na
 Total goods and services credits49,50649,52549,453-72-
  Total goods credits44,73444,73744,678-59-
  Total services credits4,7724,7894,775-14-
 Total goods and services debits-37,099-42,088-40,139-1,949-5
  Total goods debits-31,548-36,213-34,342-1,871-5
  Total services debits-5,551-5,875-5,796-79-1

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
 Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Total goods credits44,73444,73744,678-59-
 General merchandise42,73442,37842,8114331
  Rural goods5,5985,5165,338-178-3
  Non-rural goods37,13636,86237,4736112
 Net exports of goods under merchanting(a)31313213
 Non-monetary gold(a)1,9692,3281,835-493-21

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

Rural goods

Rural goods fell $178m (3%), driven by Cereal grains and cereal preparations, which fell $203m (13%). 

 

 

Rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Rural goods5,5985,5165,338-178-3
 Meat and meat preparations1,3511,2621,3801189
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations1,3701,5521,349-203-13
 Wool and sheepskins269282258-24-9
 Other rural(a)2,6082,4212,350-71-3

(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 $611m (2%), driven by Coal, coke and briquettes, up $176m (2%). The rise was driven by increases in coal prices. 

 

Non-rural goods, seasonally adjusted
  Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Non-rural goods37,13636,86237,4736112
 Metal ores and minerals14,38014,08214,2011191
 Coal, coke and briquettes9,4049,4709,6461762
 Other mineral fuels(a)6,8917,2217,3461252
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)1,2171,1281,25512711
 Machinery1,100942984424
 Transport equipment381410279-131-32
 Other manufactures2,1772,0492,065161
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(b)1,3151,2381,38815012
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(a)271321308-13-4

(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
 Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Total services credits4,7724,7894,775-14-
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(a)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(a)61--1-100
 Transport35235636593
  Passenger(b)(c)2630401033
  Freight(d)293030--
  Other161161161--
  Postal and courier services(e)135135135--
 Travel(c)1,6281,6271,583-44-3
 Other services2,7862,8042,827231
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services credits(f)1,6551,6571,623-34-2

- 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
 Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Total goods debits-31,548-36,213-34,342-1,871-5
 General merchandise debits-31,034-35,631-33,740-1,891-5
  Consumption goods-9,928-11,515-10,553-962-8
  Capital goods-7,259-7,899-7,668-231-3
  Intermediate and other merchandise goods-13,847-16,217-15,520-697-4
 Non-monetary gold(b)-514-582-602203

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

Consumption goods

Consumption goods fell $962m (8%), driven by Consumption goods n.e.s. down $463m (13%), Textiles, clothing and footwear down $269m (13%) and Household electrical items down $115m (15%). 

 

Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Consumption goods-9,928-11,515-10,553-962-8
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption-1,419-1,503-1,529262
 Household electrical items-623-764-649-115-15
 Non-industrial transport equipment-2,282-2,710-2,639-71-3
 Textiles, clothing and footwear-1,708-2,059-1,790-269-13
 Toys, books and leisure goods-690-781-713-68-9
 Consumption goods n.e.s.-3,206-3,697-3,234-463-13

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

Capital goods

Capital goods fell $231m (3%), driven by Capital goods n.e.s., down $408m (37%). 

 

Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Capital goods-7,259-7,899-7,668-231-3
 Machinery and industrial equipment-2,373-2,480-2,77629612
 ADP equipment-1,286-1,294-1,2984-
 Telecommunications equipment-1,228-1,397-1,294-103-7
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-755-396-4616516
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-1,296-1,236-1,151-85-7
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-322-1,096-688-408-37

- 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 $697m (4%), driven by Processed industrial supplies n.e.s., down $560m (9%). 

 

Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-13,847-16,217-15,520-697-4
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry-206-208-21021
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.(b)-180-157-1994227
 Fuels and lubricants(c)-3,728-4,390-4,365-25-1
 Parts for transport equipment-1,237-1,301-1,320191
 Parts for ADP equipment-87-93-55-38-41
 Other parts for capital goods-1,807-1,946-1,851-95-5
 Organic and inorganic chemicals-570-590-556-34-6
 Paper and paperboard-181-226-241157
 Textile yarn and fabrics-146-164-158-6-4
 Iron and steel-487-488-479-9-2
 Plastics-464-551-542-9-2
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.-4,728-6,064-5,504-560-9
 Other merchandise goods(d)-17-32-30-2-6
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(e)-8-9-9--

- 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
 Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 ($m)Feb-22 to Mar-22 (%)
Total services debits-5,551-5,875-5,796-79-1
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(b)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(b)-30-20-5131155
 Transport-2,314-2,597-2,476-121-5
  Passenger(c)(d)-212-218-22573
  Freight-2,051-2,327-2,198-129-6
  Other(b)-16-16-16--
  Postal and courier services(e)(f)-35-36-36--
 Travel(d)-155-180-171-9-5
 Other services-3,053-3,078-3,099211
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services debits(g)-366-398-396-2-1

- 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. 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.

Supplementary information

Selected commodities

Selected commodities, quantities (a)
 Oct-21 (%)Nov-21 (%)Dec-21 (%)Jan-22 (%)Feb-22 (%)Mar-22 (%)
Iron ore - Lump-15168-17-1829
Iron ore - Fines-2-615-8-1514
Coal - Hard coking7-1067-2012
Coal - Semi-soft-7-4-1414-1120
Coal - Thermal-7-152-19-
Gas - LNG3-2--817

- 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)
 Oct-21 (%)Nov-21 (%)Dec-21 (%)Jan-22 (%)Feb-22 (%)Mar-22 (%)
Iron ore - Lump-7-10111512-
Iron ore - Fines-19-111518121
Coal - Hard coking3016-242-29
Coal - Semi-soft27172212-15
Coal - Thermal1912-1011112
Gas - LNG1014-13-3-4

- 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 commodity movements

On an international merchandise trade basis, in original terms (noting the footnote in the above table), between February 2022 and March 2022 the largest movements recorded for the following selected commodities were:

Iron ore (lump), movement by country, Feb-22 to Mar-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement6932929-
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)62235341
Japan14561582
Vietnam42---
Malaysia-27-100-100-
Taiwan-84-46-5314
Iron ore (fines), movement by country, Feb-22 to Mar-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement1,08315141
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)88915122
Japan1585555-
Korea, Republic of (South)752027-5
Indonesia-24-36-36-1
Taiwan-38-34-375
Hard coking (high rank) coal, Feb-22 to Mar-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement-760-2112-29
India-356-2910-35
Japan-154-265-30
Poland-96-70-69-2
Germany-74-100-100-
Indonesia-72-80-55-56
Semi soft coal, movement by country, Feb-22 to Mar-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement31220-15
Japan842151-20
Taiwan69106133-11
Korea, Republic of (South)6623202
Indonesia-53-100-100-
Vietnam-58-52-42-17
Thermal Coal, movement by country, Feb-22 to Mar-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement752-2
Taiwan3111539828
Chile9834122835
Netherlands62---
Malaysia-191-76-72-12
Japan-297-15-12-4
Liquid Natural Gas, total movement, Feb-22 to Mar-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement16237-4

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
 Sep-21 ($m)Oct-21 ($m)Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-21 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)
Iron ore lump-20-10355525-50
Iron ore fines151030135075250

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 November (+$20m), December (+$55m) 2021, January (+$205m), February (+$415m) and March (+$2,265m) 2022. 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 7.0% between January 2022 and February 2022 and fell 13.7% between February 2022 and March 2022. 

In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes rose 9.9% between January 2022 and February 2022 and rose 6.6% between February 2022 and March 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

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 September 2021.

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

  • Good exports back to September 2021 
  • Good imports back to September 2021
  • Services exports back to October 2021
  • 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 $248m
  • increased the surplus on goods and services for 2021-22 by $909m.

 

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