The statistical information on this site may not be the latest. For the most up to date information visit the ABS website abs.gov.au

This is not the latest release View the latest release

International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia

Contains preliminary monthly aggregate estimates of international merchandise trade

Reference period
April 2020
Released
25/05/2020

Key statistics

  • Exports of goods in April 2020 decreased by $4,353m (-12%) to $31,443m.
  • Imports of goods in April 2020 decreased by $1,327m (-5%) to $23,121m.

Main features

This release provides preliminary estimates for Australian international merchandise trade for the month of April 2020 to help measure the economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). These estimates are compiled from administrative data (customs records) sourced from the Department of Home Affairs and are subject to revision. The final April monthly estimates will be published in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0) on 4 June 2020.

Preliminary April key points and figures

Preliminary trade in goods (original, current prices)

  • The value of exports and imports of goods both decreased in April 2020, from March 2020, although demand for resource commodities remained strong.
  • The preliminary figures show that exports fell $4b or 12% from the revised record high figure in March 2020 of $35,797m. Despite the drop, exports remain historically high.
  • The value of goods imported fell $1b or 5% on March 2020. However, imports from China increased after decreases were observed in early 2020.
     

Preliminary international trade in goods summary (a)

 Feb 2019Mar 2019Apr 2019Feb 2020Mar 2020Apr 2020Mar to Apr 2020
$m$m$m$m$m$m$m%
Original current prices
EXPORTS        
 Total goods
29 182
31 254
31 142
27 612
35 797
31 443
- 4 354
- 12
  Rural goods
3 889
  4 448
4 043
  3 726
4 441
4 121
- 320
- 7
  Non-rural goods (b)
23 273
 25 413
25 433
 22 786
  27 783
25 442
- 2341
- 8
  Non-monetary gold (c)
2 019
1 393
 1 665
1 100
3 574
1 880
- 1694
- 47
IMPORTS        
 Total goods
23 349
24 022
24 882
21 573
24 448
23 121
- 1 327
- 5
  Capital goods (d)
5 906
5 997
6 372
4 999
6 196
5 781
- 415
- 7
  Consumption goods
7 581
7 339
7 680
6 986
7 358
7 522
164
2
  Intermediate & other goods
9 433
10 236
10 421
9 037
9 830
9 202
- 628
- 6
  Non-monetary gold
430
450
410
551
1 064
615
- 449
- 42
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
a. Caution should be used when interpreting preliminary estimates as they may be different to the final published estimates, and are subject to revision.
b. For all time periods, confidentialised export items are included in Non-rural goods, whether or not this reflects their true nature.
c. Includes Gold coin.
d. For all time periods, confidentialised import items are included in Capital goods, whether or not this reflects their true nature.
 

Preliminary exports (original, current prices)

  • Exports of goods in April 2020 decreased from the revised March 2020 estimate of $35,797m by $4,353m (-12%) to $31,443m.
  • The decrease in the value of exports in April 2020 follows the record high exports value observed in March 2020.
  • The decrease in April 2020 was driven by exports of Non-rural goods, down $2,341m (-8%); and Non-monetary gold, down $1,694m (-47%).
  • Within Non-rural goods, there were significant decreases in exports of Metalliferous Ores (including Iron ore), down $456m (-4%); Coal, down $412m (-8%); and Petroleum, down $292m (-31%).
  • The decrease in exports of Non-monetary gold was driven by a drop in exports to the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, following significant exports to both of those countries in March 2020.
  • Despite the month-on-month fall in exports, Australian exports remain strong due largely to ongoing demand for Australian resource commodities, in particular Iron ore from major trading partners across Asia, and Gas.
  • Year-on-year, exports increased $301m (1%) when compared to April 2019.
     
Download

Preliminary imports (original, current prices)

  • Imports of goods in April 2020 decreased from the revised March 2020 merchandise trade estimate of $24,448m by $1,327m (-5%) to $23,121m.
  • This decrease in the value of imports was driven by imports of Intermediate and other goods, down $628m (-6%); Non-monetary gold, down $449m (-42%); and Capital goods, down $415m (-7%)
  • Within Intermediate and other goods, there were significant decreases in imports of Petroleum; Medicinal & pharmaceutical products; and Power generating machinery.
  • Within Capital Goods the largest decreases were in Other transport equipment (including aircraft); and Telecommunications and sound equipment both following strong import values in March 2020. Offsetting these decreases, imports of Office and ADP machinery increased by more than 40%.
  • While imports decreased overall, imports from China continued to rebound in April 2020 after decreases were observed at the beginning of 2020.
  • Year-on-year, imports in April 2020 decreased by $1,762m (-7%) on April 2019. This decrease is predominantly due to decreases in imports of Petroleum and Road vehicles.
     
Download

Data notes

These are preliminary estimates presented on an original, current price (merchandise (goods) trade) basis only, not a Balance of Payments (BoP) basis. This means that the data are presented on a customs basis, whereas BoP data are derived from the customs basis by applying adjustments for factors such as valuation, coverage, timing and residence, as required by the Australian System of National Accounts.

Caution should be exercised in interpreting preliminary estimates as they may be different to the final published estimates because:

  • Estimates are based on preliminary data provided by businesses and individuals, and are subject to revision as more complete and accurate information becomes available. Therefore accuracy of these estimates may be poorer than for final estimates.
  • This data does not include adjustments that are supplementary to transaction information provided by the Department of Home Affairs for example, adjustments to account for low value imported items and other above-mentioned BoP adjustments.
     

The timeline below provides key processing timeframes and publication dates for the April 2020 international trade in goods data.

Timeline April 2020

Image: Timeline April 2020

Timeline April 2020

This timeline provides key processing timeframes and publication dates for the April 2020 international trade in goods data. The April 2020 data collection commenced at the start of April and was completed at the end of April. During mid-May, the merchandise (goods) trade statistics were compiled for April 2020.

In the third week of May (25 May 2020), preliminary international merchandise (goods) trade data was published (cat. no. 5368.0.55.024). Late May saw the balance of payments adjustments applied to the April data. 2 weeks after the preliminary international merchandise (goods) trade data were published, the April 2020 final international merchandise (goods) trade statistics published (cat. no. 5368.0) and detailed subscription data became available (4 June 2020).

Inquiries

Inquiries about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

Data downloads

Table 1. Preliminary merchandise exports, standard international trade classification (1 and 2 digit), FOB value

Table 2. Preliminary merchandise exports, standard international trade classification (1 and 2 digit), customs value