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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 2020
Released
7/01/2021

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus decreased $1,561m to $5,022m in November. 
  • Goods and services debits (imports) rose $2,774m (10%) to $31,370m.
  • Goods and services credits (exports) rose $1,214m (3%) to $36,393m.

Main features

Key figures, seasonally adjusted
  Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Balance on goods and services5 6586 5835 022-1 561na
 Goods and services credits (exports)33 68935 17936 3931 2143
 Goods and services debits (imports)-28 030-28 596-31 3702 77410

na not applicable

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COVID-19 in this publication

Suspension of trend estimates

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in international trade activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent changes to regular patterns in international trade that will occur during this time. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this unusual event, they would provide a misleading view of underlying international trade activity.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in international trade activity can be accurately estimated. The trend series has therefore been suspended from March 2019 in the time series and will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in international trade.

Seasonal adjustment and COVID-19

International Accounts uses the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time new data becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From March 2020, seasonal factors for series that have been notably impacted by COVID-19 will be calculated using data up to and including February 2020, then projected from March 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.

The ABS has advised users that it had moved to using forward factors for seasonal analysis of a number of series, including Travel Services. Current ABS (and international) practice requires at least three years of data to assess whether a change in the seasonal pattern has occurred. Should COVID-19 result in a long-term change to the seasonal pattern then revisions to these series may occur in the future. The ABS will consult with users on any future methods changes to seasonal adjustment and potential revisions. The Feature Article International Travel Services time series outlines the matter in greater detail.

Balance on goods and services

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $5,022m in November 2020, a decrease of $1,561m on the surplus in October 2020.

Balance on goods and services(a), seasonally adjusted
   Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Balance on goods and services5 6586 5835 022-1 561na
 Total goods and services credits33 68935 17936 3931 2143
  Total goods credits28 62230 08131 2001 1194
  Total services credits5 0665 0985 193952
 Total goods and services debits-28 030-28 596-31 3702 77410
  Total goods debits-24 376-24 844-27 4722 62811
  Total services debits-3 654-3 752-3 8981464

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.

Goods credits, seasonally adjusted
 Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Total goods credits28 62230 08131 2001 1194
 General merchandise credits26 21028 03428 2642301
  Rural goods3 1383 3723 5862146
  Non-rural goods23 07224 66124 67817-
 Net exports of goods under merchanting(a)436060--
 Non-monetary gold(a)2 3691 9872 87688945

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

 

Rural goods

Rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Rural goods3 1383 3723 5862146
 Meat and meat preparations1 0481 1441 180363
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations42343463019645
 Wool and sheepskins1551802042413
 Other rural(a)1 5121 6131 572-41-3

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

 

Non-rural goods

Non-rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Non-rural goods23 07224 66124 67817-
 Metal ores and minerals12 43813 72613 429-297-2
 Coal, coke and briquettes3 1223 0982 986-112-4
 Other mineral fuels2 7402 7642 9882248
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)896945931-14-1
 Machinery7678651 03116619
 Transport equipment296361324-37-10
 Other manufactures1 7261 7521 804523
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(a)9661 0491 066172
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(b)1211031201717

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) For all time periods, estimates for sugar, sugar preparations and honey are included in Other non-rural. 
(b) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern.

For price and volume details, see the Selected commodities information available in the supplementary-information section.

Services credits

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

Services credits, seasonally adjusted
 Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Total services credits5 0665 0985 193952
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(a)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(a)322--
 Transport288298297-1-
  Passenger transportation(b)344--
  Freight transportation(c)202323--
  Other transportation146147147--
  Postal and courier services(d)118123123--
 Travel2 5232 5472 614673
 Other services2 2512 2502 279291
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services credits(e)2 5272 5522 619673

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

Goods and services debits (imports), seasonally adjusted

Goods debits

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

Goods debits(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Total goods debits-24 376-24 844-27 4722 62811
 General merchandise debits-23 669-24 369-26 9462 57711
  Consumption goods-9 012-9 283-9 6323494
  Capital goods-5 923-6 076-7 9851 90931
  Intermediate and other merchandise goods-8 734-9 010-9 3293194
 Non-monetary gold(b)-707-475-5265111

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

 

Consumption goods

Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Consumption goods-9 012-9 283-9 6323494
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption-1 347-1 382-1 439574
 Household electrical items-626-564-586224
 Non-industrial transport equipment-1 838-1 947-2 13318610
 Textiles, clothing and footwear-1 728-1 788-1 785-3-
 Toys, books and leisure goods-582-618-655376
 Consumption goods n.e.s.-2 891-2 984-3 034502

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

Capital goods

Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Capital goods-5 923-6 076-7 9851 90931
 Machinery and industrial equipment-2 103-2 073-2 29922611
 ADP equipment-964-944-971273
 Telecommunications equipment-867-984-1 24125726
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-228-123-2068367
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-1 024-1 102-1 33823621
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-737-851-1 9301 079127

(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.
(b) From July 2008, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Civil aircraft and confidentialised items. For earlier periods, commodities subject to a 'no commodity details' or 'no value details' restriction are included in Other merchandise goods.
(c) This component is not seasonally adjusted.
(d) In using these seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern.

 

Intermediate and other merchandise goods

Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-8 734-9 010-9 3293194
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry-176-162-16642
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.-206-147-1651812
 Fuels and lubricants-1 591-1 695-1 6961-
 Parts for transport equipment-1 074-1 085-1 19410910
 Parts for ADP equipment-59-60-701017
 Other parts for capital goods-1 438-1 582-1 568-14-1
 Organic and inorganic chemicals-268-270-257-13-5
 Paper and paperboard-166-178-1961810
 Textile yarn and fabrics-133-142-14643
 Iron and steel-264-230-2572712
 Plastics-320-322-3543210
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.-3 002-3 113-3 2401274
 Other merchandise goods(b)(c)-28-22-18-4-18
 Goods procured in ports by carriers-7-2-3150

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

 

Services debits

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(a) Trend series suspended from March 2019

Services debits(a), seasonally adjusted
 Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 ($m)Oct-20 to Nov-20 (%)
Total services debits-3 654-3 752-3 8981464
 Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others(b)-----
 Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.(b)-36-44-50614
 Transport-912-995-1 11011512
  Passenger transportation(c)-29-35-41617
  Freight transportation-867-942-1 05010811
  Other transportation(b)-6-8-8--
  Postal and courier services(d)(e)-9-10-11110
 Travel-39-49-641531
 Other services-2 668-2 664-2 67511-
Memorandum item     
 Tourism related services debits(f)-68-84-1052125

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

Supplementary information

Selected commodities

Selected commodities, quantities (a)
 Jun-20 (%)Jul-20 (%)Aug-20 (%)Sep-20 (%)Oct-20 (%)Nov-20 (%)
Iron ore - Lump3-81-7-12
Iron ore - Fines9-11112-6
Coal - Hard coking16-18-8-5-11
Coal - Semi-soft715---1419
Coal - Thermal11-1927-1817-17
Gas - LNG-9-13-615-1

- 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)
 Jun-20 (%)Jul-20 (%)Aug-20 (%)Sep-20 (%)Oct-20 (%)Nov-20 (%)
Iron ore - Lump-1-1742-1
Iron ore - Fines-2941-
Coal - Hard coking-18-5-3-3p23p-1
Coal - Semi-soft-16---1p6p1
Coal - Thermal-9-6-71-2p5
Gas - LNG-16-13-25-2617

- 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 September 2020 to October 2020 the largest movements recorded for the following selected commodities were:

Iron ore (lump), movement by country, Oct-20 to Nov-20
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement-376-13-12-1
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)-233-11-10-
Hong Kong (SAR of China)-71-62-6611
Taiwan-68-58-58-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)  

Iron ore (fines), movement by country, Oct-20 to Nov-20
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement-475-6-6-
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)-429-6-6

-1

Hong Kong (SAR of China)-48-21-233
Singapore4818135

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)  

Hard coking (high rank) coal, Oct-20 to Nov-20
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement-186-11-11-1
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)-205-70-69-1
Netherlands497170-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)  

Semi soft coal, movement by country, Oct-20 to Nov-20
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement9520191
India8892779
Thermal Coal, movement by country, Oct-20 to Nov-20
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement-161-13-175
Korea, Republic of (South)-101-41-422
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)-53-63-6815
Liquid Natural Gas, total movement, Oct-20 to Nov-20
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement35916-117

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-20 ($m)Jun-20 ($m)Jul-20 ($m)Aug-20 ($m)Sep-20 ($m)Oct-20 ($m)Nov-20 ($m)
Iron ore lump5--15--20-35215
Iron ore fines2015308030200500

Goods credits on a balance of payments basis

Coal (in original terms)

  • on a balance of payments basis, adjustments have been applied to the coal, coke and briquettes component in  October (-$275m) and November (-$250m). 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 7.1% between September 2020 and October 2020 and rose 3.3% between October 2020 and November 2020.
  • In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes fell 1.8% between September 2020 and October 2020 and rose 3.4% between October 2020 and November 2020.

Capital expenditure (in original terms)

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

International merchandise trade exports data presented in this publication are based on information reported by exporters to the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs). At the time of initial reporting to Home Affairs, the final prices at which transactions take place are not known for some commodities. Final quantity and/or unit price information is updated progressively in international merchandise trade data as exporters revise the information provided to Home Affairs.

For commodities such as iron ore and coal, newly negotiated contract prices are not fully reflected in data first reported to Home Affairs. When additional information on quantity and/or unit price for these commodities is available, the ABS may adjust the data to reflect actual transaction values.

Iron ore adjustments are applied on an international merchandise trade basis at the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) level. Coal, coke and briquettes are adjusted on a balance of payments basis in current price, original terms. When actual final transaction prices become available estimates are replaced with these data.

In most instances, transfer of ownership occurs when goods cross the customs frontier. In certain circumstances the change of ownership of large value capital expenditure items can occur prior to the items crossing the customs frontier. The ABS may adjust the relevant balance of payments series to record the timing when transfer of ownership was affected.

Revisions

Revisions have been made to incorporate the latest data relating to international trade in goods and services since the last issue of this publication.

On an international merchandise trade basis, exports and imports of goods have been revised back to May 2020.

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

  • goods exports back to April 2020
  • goods imports back to April 2020
  • services exports back to July 2019
  • services imports back to July 2019.

 

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 2019-20 by $536m
  • decreased the surplus on goods and services for 2020-21 by $573m.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.
 

History of Changes

08/01/2021 - All time series zip file added

The all time series zip file has been added to the data downloads section, no other data files have been changed. 

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