International Trade in Goods

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Statistics about international trade in goods, on a balance of payments and international trade basis.

Reference period
December 2023
Released
5/02/2024
  • Next Release 7/03/2024
    International Trade in Goods, January 2024
  • Next Release 5/04/2024
    International Trade in Goods, February 2024
  • Next Release 2/05/2024
    International Trade in Goods, March 2024
  • View all releases

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted balance on goods decreased $805m in December.
  • Goods credits (exports) rose $847m (1.8%) driven by Non-monetary gold.
  • Goods debits (imports) rose $1,652 m (4.8%) driven by Parts for transport equipment.

Trade overview

Key Figures, Seasonally Adjusted
 Oct 23 ($m)Nov 23 ($m)Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 (%)
Balance on goods7,83611,76410,959-805na
 Credits (Exports of goods)45,52546,27847,1258471.8
 Debits (Imports of goods)-37,689-34,513-36,1651,6524.8

na not applicable

 

  1. Large month-to-month changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks. The ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates published in spreadsheets for this period.

Goods credits

  1. Large month-to-month changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks. The ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates published in spreadsheets for this period.
Goods credits, seasonally adjusted
 Oct 23 ($m)Nov 23 ($m)Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 (%)
Total goods credits45,52546,27847,1258471.8
 General merchandise42,93343,80044,1563560.8
  Rural goods5,8645,6935,722290.5
  Non-rural goods37,06938,10738,4343270.9
 Net exports of goods under merchanting(a)494949--
 Non-monetary gold(a)2,5432,4292,92049120.2

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) 

  1. This component is not seasonally adjusted.

Rural goods

Rural goods rose $29m (0.5%), driven by Other rural, up $201m (8.3%).

Rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Oct 23 ($m)Nov 23 ($m)Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 (%)
Rural goods5,8645,6935,722290.5
 Meat and meat preparations1,5161,5171,577604.0
 Cereal grains and cereal preparations1,4971,5321,234-298-19.5
 Wool and sheepskins2502262926629.2
 Other rural(a)2,6002,4182,6192018.3
  1. For all time periods, estimates for sugar, sugar preparations and honey are included in Other non-rural.

Non-rural goods

Non-rural goods rose $327m (0.9%), driven by Other mineral fuels, up $448m (6.7%).

Non-rural goods, seasonally adjusted
 Oct 23 ($m)Nov 23 ($m)Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 (%)
Non-rural goods37,06938,10738,4343270.9
 Metal ores and minerals16,25116,62116,488-133-0.8
 Coal, coke and briquettes7,6558,5098,154-355-4.2
 Other mineral fuels6,5426,7217,1694486.7
 Metals (excl. non-monetary gold)1,3781,1671,34517815.3
 Machinery1,1901,3011,145-156-12.0
 Transport equipment419402400-2-0.5
 Other manufactures2,1092,0842,171874.2
 Other non-rural (incl. sugar and beverages)(a)1,2291,0171,30528828.3
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(b)296285257-28-9.8
  1. For all time periods, estimates for sugar, sugar preparations and honey are included in Other non-rural.
  2. 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.

Goods debits

  1. Large month-to-month changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks. The ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates published in spreadsheets for this period.
Goods debits(a), seasonally adjusted
 Oct 23 ($m)Nov 23 ($m)Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 (%)
Total goods debits-37,689-34,513-36,1651,6524.8
 General merchandise debits-36,635-33,942-35,5381,5964.7
  Consumption goods-11,686-10,103-11,0989959.8
  Capital goods-9,002-8,702-8,619-83-1.0
  Intermediate and other merchandise goods-15,946-15,138-15,8216834.5
 Non-monetary gold(b)-1,054-571-627569.8
  1. For sign conventions, see the methodology page.
  2. This component is not seasonally adjusted.

Consumption goods

Consumption goods rose $995m (9.8%), driven by Non-industrial transport equipment, up $432m (15.8%).

Consumption goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Oct 23 ($m)Nov 23 ($m)Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 (%)
Consumption goods-11,686-10,103-11,0989959.8
 Food and beverages, mainly for consumption-1,630-1,540-1,601614.0
 Household electrical items-559-539-54561.1
 Non-industrial transport equipment-3,764-2,737-3,16943215.8
 Textiles, clothing and footwear-1,790-1,583-1,81923614.9
 Toys, books and leisure goods-619-522-63811622.2
 Consumption goods n.e.s.-3,324-3,182-3,3271454.6
  1. For sign conventions, see the methodology page.

Capital goods

Capital goods fell $83m (1.0%), driven by Industrial transport equipment n.e.s., down $332m (16.4%).

Capital goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Oct 23 ($m)Nov 23 ($m)Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 (%)
Capital goods-9,002-8,702-8,619-83-1.0
 Machinery and industrial equipment-3,100-2,916-3,0181023.5
 ADP equipment-1,002-911-881-30-3.3
 Telecommunications equipment-1,300-1,268-1,168-100-7.9
 Civil aircraft and confidentialised items(b)(c)-345-173-421248143.4
 Industrial transport equipment n.e.s.-1,894-2,030-1,698-332-16.4
 Capital goods n.e.s.(d)-1,362-1,404-1,433292.1
  1. For sign conventions, see the methodology page.
  2. 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.
  3. This component is not seasonally adjusted.
  4. 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 $683m (4.5%), driven by Parts for transport equipment, up $575m (36.7%). 

Intermediate and other merchandise goods(a), seasonally adjusted
 Oct 23 ($m)Nov 23 ($m)Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 ($m)Nov 23 to Dec 23 (%)
Intermediate and other merchandise goods-15,946-15,138-15,8216834.5
 Food and beverages, mainly for industry-206-212-202-10-4.7
 Primary industrial supplies n.e.s.(b)-216-232-122-110-47.4
 Fuels and lubricants(c)-5,814-5,053-5,3132605.1
 Parts for transport equipment-1,475-1,565-2,14057536.7
 Parts for ADP equipment-82-69-66-3-4.3
 Other parts for capital goods-2,090-1,997-2,080834.2
 Organic and inorganic chemicals-409-441-367-74-16.8
 Paper and paperboard-204-224-236125.4
 Textile yarn and fabrics-131-126-13486.3
 Iron and steel-443-438-448102.3
 Plastics-474-462-46530.6
 Processed industrial supplies n.e.s.-4,120-3,933-3,980471.2
 Other merchandise goods(d)-83-185-65-120-64.9
 Goods procured in ports by carriers(e)-200-202-20310.5
  1. For sign conventions, see the methodology page.
  2. From July 2010, this series is not seasonally adjusted.
  3. Prior to October 2011, this series was not seasonally adjusted.
  4. 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.
  5. Prior to April 2010, this series was not seasonally adjusted.

Supplementary information

Selected commodities

Selected commodities, quantities (a)
 Jul 23 (%)Aug 23 (%)Sep 23 (%)Oct 23 (%)Nov 23 (%)Dec 23 (%)
Iron ore - Lump1.1-0.3-1.60.8-5.19.9
Iron ore - Fines-12.47.3-4.14.7-4.912.1
Coal - Hard coking-26.97.6-11.9-0.118.02.2
Coal - Semi-soft-0.6-6.4-8.425.0-10.416.4
Coal - Thermal0.4-17.49.85.90.74.1
Gas - LNG-1.84.2-7.23.6-2.316.8
  1. Data in this table is on a revised international merchandise trade basis.
Selected commodities, unit values (a)
 Jul 23 (%)Aug 23 (%)Sep 23 (%)Oct 23 (%)Nov 23 (%)Dec 23 (%)
Iron ore - Lump0.91.09.52.75.0-0.6
Iron ore - Fines1.71.25.04.24.20.7
Coal - Hard coking-2.24.28.89.1-10.2-3.6
Coal - Semi-soft-1.2-3.61.05.7-6.4-1.2
Coal - Thermal-8.00.91.2-5.23.10.8
Gas - LNG1.64.81.3-0.12.7-2.8
  1. 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 November 2023 and December 2023 the largest movements recorded for the following selected commodities were:

Iron ore (lump), movement by country, Nov 23 to Dec 23
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (lump) - Total movement3069.39.9-0.6
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)36113.013.3-0.3
Korea, Republic of (South)2825.421.63.2
Indonesia-14-81.7-79.8-9.4
Vietnam-23-100.0-100.0-
Japan-62-21.8-14.5-8.6

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
 

Iron ore (fines), movement by country, Nov 23 to Dec 23
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Iron ore (fines) - Total movement1,12312.912.10.7
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)96112.811.61.0
Japan9224.933.7-6.6
Taiwan3963.459.52.4
Vietnam2848.835.79.7
Malaysia20---

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
 

Hard coking (high rank) coal, movement by country, Nov 23 to Dec 23
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
High rank coal - Total movement-48-1.52.2-3.6
Japan-144-23.9-15.7-9.7
India-91-8.6-11.02.6
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)91103.5102.10.7
Taiwan9675.646.819.6
Korea, Republic of (South)24090.5103.2-6.2


 

Semi soft coal, movement by country, Nov 23 to Dec 23
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Semi soft coal - Total movement19815.116.4-1.2
Japan15638.339.7-1.0
Taiwan6978.667.46.7
Slovenia26---
France (includes Andorra and Monaco)-33-83.4-86.321.2
Vietnam-69-100.0-100.0-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
 

Thermal coal, movement by country, Nov 23 to Dec 23
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Thermal coal - Total movement1695.04.10.8
Taiwan291142.395.424.0
Vietnam5227.633.5-4.4
Thailand40---
Bangladesh23---
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)-253-27.0-18.8-10.1

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
 

Liquid Natural Gas, total movement, Nov 23 to Dec 23
 Value ($m)Value (%)Quantity (%)Unit Value (%)
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - Total movement78013.616.8-2.8


 

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

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 final transaction information becomes available the adjusted 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.

Goods credits on an international merchandise trade basis

On a merchandise trade basis, adjustments have been applied to iron ore lumps and iron ore fines. When final transaction information becomes available, the adjusted estimates are replaced with these data. For price and volume details, see the Selected commodities section.

Goods credits on a balance of payments basis

Coal (in original terms)

In the international merchandise trade series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes fell 2.8% between October 2023 and November 2023 and fell 1.2% between November 2023 and December 2023.

Coal, coke and briquettes adjustment, BoP Basis
 Jun 23($m)Jul 23($m)Aug 23($m)Sep 23($m)Oct 23($m)Nov 23($m)Dec 23($m)
Coal, coke and briquettes008025015865990

In the balance of payments series, the unit value of coal, coke and briquettes rose 7.7% between October 2023 and November 2023 and fell 0.3% between November 2023 and December 2023.

Revisions

Revisions have been made to incorporate the latest data since the last issue of this publication.

On an international merchandise trade basis, goods exports and imports have been revised back to June 2023.

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

  • Goods exports back to June 2023
  • Goods imports back to June 2023

Table 17 summarises revisions to goods on a balance of payments basis since the last issue of this publication.

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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Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.

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