The total value of exports and imports of goods increased in June 2020, following declines in May and April 2020, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) preliminary international trade in goods figures.
The preliminary figures highlight that the value of exports increased by $2.35 billion (or 8 per cent) driven by strong exports of iron ore.
The ABS data outlines that from May to June 2020, exports of iron ore (lumps and fines) increased by $757 million (or 8 per cent) to $9.92 billion, the highest export value on record.
This pushed the total exports of iron ore for 2019-20 to over $100 billion, representing more than a quarter of Australia’s total goods exported for this period.
China was the main market for Australian iron ore exports – accounting for 87 per cent of all iron ore exported in 2019-20.
Adding to the increase in exports in June 2020 were non-monetary gold, up $916 million (or 67 per cent) to $2.29 billion, and petroleum, up $208 million (or 47 per cent) to $651 million.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said the trade figures highlighted the importance of the resources sector to the nation’s economy.
“Iron ore exports in the 2019-20 financial year reached $101.7 billion, which is a great achievement at a time when our economy needs all the support it can get,” Minister Pitt said. “It smashes the previous annual export benchmark of $77.5 billion, also set by iron ore in the previous financial year.”
“The recent Resources Energy Quarterly revealed total industry exports will reach around $293 billion for the 2019-20 financial year, despite the challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic,” he commented.
Minister Pitt acknowledged the industry is not immune to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 but is still making an enormous contribution.
“The slowdown in industrial activity around the world is having an impact on coal and gas demand, however they still managed to generate over $7 billion in exports in June alone,” Minister Pitt said.
“Demand for both will return as we emerge from this pandemic and while some are using the downturn to make exaggerated claims about the future of some resources, the International Energy Agency confirms coal will remain a key player in energy generation for at least the next two decades.”
According to the ABS, the value of goods imported rose by $1.29 billion (or 6 per cent) driven by increases in imports of petroleum, up $341 million (or 29 per cent) to $1.51 billion. This was the first increase in petroleum imports since December 2019.
After a decline in May, articles of apparel, including items of personal protective equipment (PPE), also increased significantly, up $332 million (or 65 per cent) to $843 million.