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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
May 2022
Released
7/07/2022

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus increased $2,717m to $15,965m in May. 
  • Goods and services credits (exports) rose $5,054m (9.5%) to $58,402m, driven by rises in exports of Coal, coke and briquettes and Other mineral fuels.
  • Goods and services debits (imports) rose $2,337m (5.8%) to $42,437m, driven by rises in imports Fuels and lubricants and Non-industrial transport equipment.

Main features

Key Figures, Seasonally Adjusted
  Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22
($m)
Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Balance on goods and services10,39513,24815,9652,717na
 Credits (Exports of goods & services)50,82653,34858,4025,0549.5
 Debits (Imports of goods & services)-40,431-40,100-42,4372,3375.8

na not applicable

Enhancing Trade in Services quarterly statistics

The ABS is enhancing the quarterly international trade in services statistics. Further information on the enhancements and publication changes can be found in the attached article.

A summary of the implications to the current publication are:

  • International trade in services estimates in the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia publication will not equal the sum of the three months that have been published in the International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia publication. 
  • From the June 2022 reference month, tables 11a and 11b will no longer be published in the International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia publication.  The full suite of quarterly international trade in services data will be available from the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia publication for the current reference quarter.

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 in this issue

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. The International merchandise trade: Confidential Commodities List (Previously Tables 1-4) datacube is now available as an additional download in this publication.

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.

Balance on goods and services

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $15,965m in May 2022, an increase of $2,717m on the surplus in April 2022. 

 

Balance on goods and services(a), seasonally adjusted
   Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Balance on goods and services10,39513,24815,9652,717na
 Total goods and services credits50,82653,34858,4025,0549.5
  Total goods credits45,83247,90752,7024,79510.0
  Total services credits4,9945,4415,7002594.8
 Total goods and services debits-40,431-40,100-42,4372,3375.8
  Total goods debits-34,421-34,057-36,1502,0936.1
  Total services debits-6,010-6,043-6,2882454.1

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
 Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Total goods credits45,83247,90752,7024,79510.0
 General merchandise43,96646,58750,4683,8818.3
  Rural goods5,1965,4155,6081933.6
  Non-rural goods38,77041,17244,8593,6879.0
 Net exports of goods under merchanting(a)322418-6-25.0
 Non-monetary gold(a)1,8341,2962,21692071.0

(a) This component is not seasonally adjusted.

 

Rural goods

Rural goods rose $193m (3.6%), driven by Other rural, up $159m (6.7%). 

 

 

Rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Rural goods5,1965,4155,6081933.6
 Meat and meat preparations1,3291,3711,462916.6
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations1,3091,4051,314-91-6.5
 Wool and sheepskins2442723073512.9
 Other rural(a)2,3142,3672,5261596.7

(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 $3,687m (9.0%), driven by Coal, coke and briquettes, up $2,482m (20.4%). 

 

Non-rural goods, seasonally adjusted
  Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Non-rural goods38,77041,17244,8593,6879.0
 Metal ores and minerals14,16114,08214,4743922.8
 Coal, coke and briquettes10,57312,17714,6592,48220.4
 Other mineral fuels7,8128,2089,17897011.8
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)1,2351,4801,231-249-16.8
 Machinery97599499620.2
 Transport equipment259364352-12-3.3
 Other manufactures2,0462,0962,2441487.1
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(a)1,4041,4551,382-73-5.0
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(b)305316344288.9

(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 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
 Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Total services credits4,9945,4415,7002594.8
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(a)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(a)32--2-100.0
 Transport380400422225.5
  Passenger(b)(c)67831062327.7
  Freight(d)282929--
  Other16616917010.6
  Postal and courier services(e)119119118-1-0.8
 Travel(c)1,7322,2372,4482119.4
 Other services2,8782,8022,830281.0
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services credits(f)1,7992,3202,55423410.1

- nil (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
 Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Total goods debits-34,421-34,057-36,1502,0936.1
 General merchandise debits-33,818-33,385-35,5672,1826.5
  Consumption goods-10,603-10,496-11,0635675.4
  Capital goods-7,694-7,640-7,8832433.2
  Intermediate and other merchandise goods-15,521-15,248-16,6211,3739.0
 Non-monetary gold(b)-603-672-583-89-13.2

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

Consumption goods

Consumption goods rose $567m (5.4%), driven by Non-industrial transport equipment, up $390m (18.5%).

 

Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Consumption goods-10,603-10,496-11,0635675.4
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption-1,541-1,578-1,634563.5
 Household electrical items-661-664-700365.4
 Non-industrial transport equipment-2,625-2,113-2,50339018.5
 Textiles, clothing and footwear-1,830-1,850-1,903532.9
 Toys, books and leisure goods-705-719-697-22-3.1
 Consumption goods n.e.s.-3,240-3,573-3,624511.4

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

Capital goods

Capital goods rose $243m (3.2%), driven by Machinery and industrial equipment, up $174m (6.5%), partially offset by ADP equipment, down $162m (12.7%).

 

Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Capital goods-7,694-7,640-7,8832433.2
 Machinery and industrial equipment-2,750-2,686-2,8601746.5
 ADP equipment-1,273-1,275-1,113-162-12.7
 Telecommunications equipment-1,294-1,323-1,356332.5
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-461-361-4377621.1
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-1,207-1,315-1,379644.9
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-708-680-737578.4

(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 $1,373m (9.0%), driven by Fuels and lubricants, up $1,152m (22.9%). 

 

Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-15,521-15,248-16,6211,3739.0
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry-214-226-239135.8
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.(b)-189-142-324182128.2
 Fuels and lubricants(c)-4,438-5,035-6,1871,15222.9
 Parts for transport equipment-1,311-1,224-1,277534.3
 Parts for ADP equipment-56-76-7933.9
 Other parts for capital goods-1,827-1,841-1,774-67-3.6
 Organic and inorganic chemicals-550-533-516-17-3.2
 Paper and paperboard-245-214-229157.0
 Textile yarn and fabrics-157-155-153-2-1.3
 Iron and steel-471-457-443-14-3.1
 Plastics-536-485-5435812.0
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.-5,486-4,801-4,780-21-0.4
 Other merchandise goods(d)-30-50-39-11-22.0
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(e)-10-9-3930333.3

(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) 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 series was not seasonally adjusted.

Services debits

(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019.

Services debits(a), seasonally adjusted
 Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 ($m)Apr-22 to May-22 (%)
Total services debits-6,010-6,043-6,2882454.1
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(b)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(b)-51-48-33-15-31.3
 Transport-2,628-2,619-2,8161977.5
  Passenger(c)(d)-403-454-5236915.2
  Freight-2,182-2,124-2,2521286.0
  Other(b)-31-32-32--
  Postal and courier services(e)(f)-12-10-9-1-10.0
 Travel(d)-203-258-2994115.9
 Other services-3,128-3,118-3,139210.7
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services debits(g)-605-712-82311115.6

- nil (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)
 Dec-21 (%)Jan-22 (%)Feb-22 (%)Mar-22 (%)Apr-22 (%)May-22 (%)
Iron ore - Lump7.7-16.9-18.228.5-0.86.3
Iron ore - Fines15.2-8.4-15.014.3-3.47.4
Coal - Hard coking5.85.9-18.916.2-10.312.4
Coal - Semi-soft-14.013.9-11.217.9-9.94.6
Coal - Thermal4.71.7-19.5-1.10.621.6
Gas - LNG-0.1-8.10.25.4-6.820.7

(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)
 Dec-21 (%)Jan-22 (%)Feb-22 (%)Mar-22 (%)Apr-22 (%)May-22 (%)
Iron ore - Lump12.915.511.4-0.54.0-3.0
Iron ore - Fines16.616.611.81.26.3-5.4
Coal - Hard coking-2.36.28.613.313.4-40.6
Coal - Semi-soft1.71.812.411.824.1-16.5
Coal - Thermal-9.911.511.18.122.18.3
Gas - LNG-0.92.7-3.8-0.46.4-12.1

 (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 April 2022 and May 2022 the largest movements recorded for the following selected commodities were:

Iron ore (lump), movement by country, Apr-22 to May-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement1003.16.3-3.0
Japan9330.829.51.0
Korea, Republic of (South)4740.037.31.9
Taiwan3528.029.7-1.3
Netherlands-35-100.0-100.0-
Vietnam-61-75.3-71.1-14.4
Iron ore (fines), movement by country, Apr-22 to May-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement1371.67.4-5.4
Japan22067.273.4-3.6
Malaysia22---
United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, nfd-19-100.0-100.0-
Korea, Republic of (South)-24-4.8-6.41.7
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)-62-0.95.6-6.1
Hard coking (high rank) coal, Apr-22 to May-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement-1,750-33.212.4-40.6
India-864-43.92.1-45.0
Japan-450-45.8-5.0-42.9
Vietnam-146-42.047.3-60.6
France (includes Andorra and Monaco)-143-69.4-52.5-35.6
Korea, Republic of (South)21746.763.3-10.2
Semi soft coal, movement by country, Apr-22 to May-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement-266-12.74.6-16.5
India-280-56.3-40.4-26.8
Brazil-218-96.9-81.7-83.1
Vietnam-90-57.2-48.8-16.4
Taiwan96100.864.622.0
Korea, Republic of (South)23592.592.6-
Thermal Coal, movement by country, Apr-22 to May-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement1,36031.721.68.3
Korea, Republic of (South)565197.1145.321.2
Vietnam376692.7546.122.7
Taiwan18333.710.720.8
Japan1536.1-5.211.9
Thailand-123-79.5-74.9-18.4
Liquid Natural Gas, total movement, Apr-22 to May-22
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement3676.120.7-12.1

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
 Nov-21 ($m)Dec-21 ($m)Jan-22 ($m)Feb-22 ($m)Mar-22 ($m)Apr-22 ($m)May-22 ($m)
Iron ore lump010202510-40-100
Iron ore fines104015-15-3040-100

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 May (+$3,300m), April (+35m), and March (-$30m).  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 16.0% between March 2022 and April 2022 and fell 18.5% between April 2022 and May 2022. 

In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes rose 16.7% between between March 2022 and April 2022 and rose 5.5% between April 2022 and May 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 November 2021.

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

  • Goods exports, back to October 2021 
  • Goods imports, back to October 2021
  • Services exports, back to July 2021
  • Services imports, back to July 2021. 

Table 17 summarises revisions to goods and services on a balance of payments basis since the last issue of this publication. In original, current price terms, the revisions have:

  • increased the surplus on goods and services for 2021-2022 by $2,468m. 

 

Confidential Commodities List

Confidential Commodities List

International trade in goods statistics are subject to confidentiality. Where necessary, a restriction is placed, at the commodity level, to restrict the level of detail available. Depending on the nature of restriction, this may be all detail relating to the product (no commodity details), or a restriction of only some variables (e.g. selected country details). Users of this publication and other international trade statistics should use the Confidential Commodities List (CCL) in Table 92 to determine whether a particular statistic has been subject to confidentiality restrictions, and therefore may not represent the true aggregate value.

The CCL Data Cube registers all import and export commodities subject to a confidentiality restriction and presents information under the following headings:

  • changes and new restrictions to import items in the current month
  • changes and new restrictions to export items in the current month
  • all import restrictions from January 1988 to the current month
  • all export restrictions from January 1988 to the current month.

There are additional confidentiality applications that impact ABS international trade in goods statistics that are not reflected in this data cube. These are presented in the International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods which also provides more detailed information on international merchandise trade confidentiality. 

For further information, including how to interpret the Confidential Commodities List, please see the Explanatory Notes section in Table 92. 

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