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International Trade: Supplementary Information, Financial Year

This publication is supplementary to the monthly publication, International Trade in Goods and Services and contains detailed financial year data.

Reference period
2020-21 financial year

Key statistics

  • The balance on trade in services was a surplus of $13,674m.
  • Services credits (exports) declined $29,508m (32%) to $62,527m.
  • Services debits (imports) declined $37,626m (44%) to $48,853m.

Main features

The balance on international trade in services was a surplus of $13,674m in 2020-21. This is the second surplus in a row, following 15 consecutive years of deficits from 2004-05 to 2018-19.

The size of the surplus increased $8,118m (146%) year on year, largely driven by a bigger fall in Travel service imports than in Travel services exports.

Services exports

Due to a large decrease in Travel, states with significant exports of Travel services experienced related year on year decreases to their total export value.

The largest decreases were New South Wales, down $9,959m (25%), and Victoria, down $8,364m (33%).

Services exports, by state
 2019-20 ($m)2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 (%)
New South Wales39,94229,983-9,959-25
Victoria25,36517,001-8,364-33
Queensland12,2486,571-5,677-46
South Australia3,7302,567-1,163-31
Western Australia7,1214,097-3,024-42
Tasmania1,065611-454-43
Northern Territory689358-331-48
Australian Capital Territory1,8751,339-536-29
Total92,03562,527-29,508-32

 

The top three countries of export for services were China, United States of America and Asia, nes, which together accounted for 38% of the total exports value.

Services exports, by partner country
2019-20$m%2020-21$m%

China

16,218

18

China

10,359

17

United States of America

9,489

10

United States of America

7,230

12

Asia, nes

8,093

9

Asia, nes

6,117

10

India

7,658

8

India

5,947

10

New Zealand

5,583

6

United Kingdom

3,809

6

All other countries

44,994

49

All other countries

29,065

46

Total

92,035

100

Total

62,527

100

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Services imports

As with exports, states with significant imports of Travel services experienced related year on year decreases to their total import value.

The largest decreases were New South Wales, down $12,429m (33%), and Victoria, down $10,278m (50%).

Services imports (a), by state
 2019-20 ($m)2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 (%)
New South Wales-38,222-25,793-12,429-33
Victoria-20,720-10,442-10,278-50
Queensland-11,682-4,813-6,869-59
South Australia-3,130-1,674-1,456-47
Western Australia-9,196-3,939-5,257-57
Tasmania-492-141-351-71
Northern Territory-479-109-370-77
Australian Capital Territory-2,558-1,942-616-24
Total-86,479-48,853-37,626-44

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

The top three countries of import of services were United States of America, United Kingdom and Singapore, which together accounted for 36% of the total imports value.

Services imports (a), by partner country
2019-20$m%2020-21$m%

United States of America

-15,748

18

United States of America

-8,797

18

United Kingdom

-8,852

10

United Kingdom

-5,609

11

Asia, nes

-5,601

6

Singapore

-3,369

7

New Zealand

-5,282

6

Germany

-3,292

7

Singapore

-5,033

6

New Zealand

-2,653

5

All other countries

-45,963

53

All other countries

-25,133

51

Total

-86,479

100

Total

-48,853

100

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.

Exports of services

Services exports decreased $29,508m to $62,527m in 2020-21. The largest contributors to the decrease were Travel services, down $27,556m (50%), and Transport services, down $3,147m (46%).

Partially offsetting Travel and Transport was Personal, cultural, and recreational services, up $2,868m (87%).

Services exports - summary
 2019-20 ($m)2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 (%)
Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others-15151500
Maintenance and repair services n.i.e333526
Transport6,8863,739-3,147-46
Travel55,66528,109-27,556-50
Construction694684-10-1
Insurance and Pension services6677437611
Financial services5,0834,161-922-18
Charges for the use of intellectual property n.ie.1,2621,52125921
Telecommunications, computer and information services5,3205,387671
Other business services12,28311,118-1,165-9
Personal, cultural and recreational services3,2846,1522,86887
Government goods and services n.i.e85886351
Total services92,03562,527-29,508-32

 

Travel services

Other personal travel, down $15,980m (98%), and Education-related travel, down $9,784m (26%), were the main drivers of the decrease in exports of Travel services. These decreases were a result of COVID-19 restrictions, with travel restrictions in place throughout most of the 2020-21 financial year.

Despite the large decrease, exports of Travel services continued to be the largest contributor to total service exports, accounting for 45% of the total value in 2020-21 (down from 60% in 2019-20). Education-related travel accounted for 98% of the total Travel value, up from 67% in 2019-20, with many international students continuing their studies or having entered Australia before the introduction of travel restrictions.

New South Wales accounted for 37% of all Travel service exports in 2020-21, followed by Victoria (32%), with the two states hosting the largest numbers of international students.

Travel exports, by state
 2019-20 ($m)2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 (%)
New South Wales

19,456

10,298

-9,158

-47

Victoria

17,218

8,921

-8,297

-48

Queensland

9,325

4,113

-5,212

-56

South Australia

2,858

1,717

-1,141

-40

Western Australian

4,141

1,684

-2,457

-59

Tasmania

963

508

-455

-47

Northern Territory

480

177

-303

-63

Australian Capital Territory

1,224

692

-532

-43

Total

55,665

28,109

-27,556

-50

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Due to Other personal travel being at historically low levels, country breakdowns for exports of Travel services were predominantly driven by Education-related travel. 

China continued to be Australia's largest country of export for Travel services and accounted for 22% of Travel exports (down slightly from 24% in 2019-20). This was due to many Chinese students continuing their studies inside Australia or entering Australia to resume or commence their studies before the introduction of travel restrictions. Despite this, exports of Travel services to China were down 64% on pre-COVID-19 levels (2018-19).

Travel exports, by partner country
2019-20$m%2020-21$m%

China

13,468

24

China

6,127

22

India

7,226

13

Asia, nes

5,355

19

Asia, nes

6,885

12

India

5,329

19

New Zealand

2,394

4

America, nes

1,613

6

America, nes

2,102

3

Vietnam

1,172

4

All other countries

23,590

42

All other countries

8,513

30

Total

55,665

100

Total

28,109

100

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Personal, cultural and recreational services

While the international student population in Australia declined in 2020-21, the number studying outside of the country increased significantly. Many students were unable to enter the country to commence or resume their studies, leading to an increase in online study with Australian universities which is captured as a service in Other personal, cultural and recreational services.

Other personal, cultural and recreational services increased $2,911m (110%), and accounted for 90% of the total Personal, cultural and recreational exports value.

Together, New South Wales and Victoria accounted for 79% of exports of Personal, cultural and recreational services.

Personal, cultural and recreational exports, by state

 

2019-20 ($m)

2020-21 ($m)

2019-20 to 2020-21 ($m)

2019-20 to 2020-21 (%)

New South Wales

np

2,296

na

na

Victoria

np

2,580

na

na

Queensland

313

643

330

105

South Australia

134

251

117

87

Western Australia

118

166

48

41

Tasmania

19

32

13

68

Northern Territory

-

-

-

-

Australian Capital Territory

90

182

92

102

Total

3,284

6,152

2,868

87

- nil (including null cells)
na not available
np not available for publication
Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

In 2020-21, China was the largest country of export for Personal, cultural and recreational services and accounted for 52% of the exports value, up from 34% in 2019-20.

Personal, cultural and recreational exports, by partner country
2019-20$m%2020-21$m%

China

1,104

34

China

3,200

52

United States of America

247

8

India

475

8

India

230

7

Singapore

167

3

United Kingdom

184

6

United States of America

165

3

Singapore

162

5

Hong Kong

148

2

All other countries

1,357

41

All other countries

1,997

32

Total

3,284

100

Total

6,152

100

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Transport services

Transport passenger was the main driver of the decrease in Transport services, down $2,404m (98%). As with Travel, Transport services declined due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions and the limited number of passenger flights operating.

(a) Passenger services includes agency fees and commissions for air transport
(b) Postal and courier includes indirect commissions from sea transport.

Imports of services

Services imports decreased $37,626m to $48,853m in 2020-21. The largest contributors to the decrease were Travel services, down $34,419m (97%), and Transport services, down $2,518m (15%).

Services imports (a) - summary
 2019-20 ($m)2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 ($m)2019-20 to 2020-21 (%)
Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others----
Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.912473-439-48
Transport16,48213,964-2,518-15
Travel35,4911,072-34,419-97
Construction----
Insurance and pension services 1,2121,260484
Financial services 2,6262,336-290-11
Charges for the use of intellectual property n.i.e4,9075,2393327
Telecommunication, computer and information services5,6685,425-243-4
Other business services15,19515,3261311
Personal, cultural, and recreational services2,1201,944-176-8
Government goods and services n.i.e 1,8661,814-52-3
Total services86,47948,853-37,626-44

 

Travel services

Other personal travel, down $31,079m (98%), and Business travel, down $2,937m (93%), were the main drivers of the decrease in Travel services.

Travel imports were significantly impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2020-21 and accounted for only 2% of the total services imports value, down from 41% in 2019-20.

Despite New South Wales’ value of Travel services imports decreasing 95% in 2020-21, its proportion of total Travel imports increased from 33% in 2019-20 to 53%. In contrast, Victoria’s proportion of Travel service imports decreased from 27% to 18% and Western Australia’s decreased from 13% to 7%.

The changes in proportions of travel service imports in 2020-21 were a result of:

  • the trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand
  • varying restrictions across states
  • state specific COVID-19 outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns.
Travel imports (a), by state

 

2019-20 ($m)

2020-21 ($m)

2019-20 to 2020-21 ($m)

2019-20 to 2020-21 (%)

New South Wales

-11,790

-569

-11,221

-95

Victoria

-9,636

-196

-9,440

-98

Queensland

-6,607

-174

-6,433

-97

South Australia

-1,613

-28

-1,585

-98

Western Australia

-4,525

-77

-4,448

-98

Tasmania

-360

-8

-352

-98

Northern Territory

-306

-6

-300

-98

Australian Capital Territory

-653

-16

-637

-98

Total

-35,491

-1,072

-34,419

-97

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.

In 2020-21, New Zealand was the largest country of import for Travel services and accounted for 40% of the value, up from 9% in 2019-20. The increase in the proportion of Travel service imports from New Zealand is due to the trans-Tasman travel bubble, with two-way quarantine free travel commencing in April 2021.

Travel imports (a), by partner country

2019-20

$m%2020-21$m%

United States of America

-6,005

17

New Zealand

-426

40

United Kingdom

-3,140

9

Asia, nes

-91

8

New Zealand

-3,080

9

United States of America

-75

7

Indonesia

-2,862

8

United Kingdom

-68

6

Japan

-2,306

6

India

-48

4

All other countries

-18,098

51

All other countries

-364

34

Total

-35,491

100

Total

-1,072

100

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals
(a) For sign conventions, see the Explanatory notes.

Transport services

Transport passenger was the main driver of the decrease in Transport services, down $4,646m (87%). Offsetting Transport passenger, and increasing to a record high value in 2020-21, was Transport freight, up $2,555m (25%).

The limited number of passenger flights, coupled with increased global demand for physical goods led to shortages of shipping containers and port congestion throughout 2020-21. These supply chain disruptions resulted in unprecedented shipping costs.

(a) Passenger services includes agency fees and commissions for air transport
(b) Postal and courier includes indirect commissions from sea transport.

Changes in this issue

Historical revisions

This publication includes historical revisions which are also included in the Australian System of National Accounts, 2019-20 (cat. no. 5204.0), released in October 2020, and the September 2020 issue of Balance of Payments and International Investment Position (cat. no. 5302.0) to be released in December 2020.

Post release changes

01/07/2022 - In Table 6. International trade in services, debits, financial year by country and service, $m, the 2008-2009 figure for Government goods and services n.i.e., France, has been updated with the correct value.

Acknowledgement

The ABS would like to thank the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) who have provided funding and support for this publication.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5368.0.55.003.
 

Data downloads

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