Australia - Foreign trade

Measured by foreign trade volume per capita, Australia is one of the great trading nations, and it continues to show a steady rise in trade volume. Throughout the 1970s, exports regularly exceeded imports. In the early 1980s, however, there was a deficit, which has continued into the 1990s.

Australia is mainly an exporter of primary products and an importer of manufactured and semi-finished goods, although the export of manufactured goods increased by 10% per year during the 1990s. Exports of primary goods accounted for almost 60% of total exports in 1998. Transport or re-export trade is negligible. In recent years, Australia's foreign trade has tended to shift from European markets to developing Asian nations, which now account for nearly 60% of Australia's exports, compared with about 10% in 1975.

Australia's commodity exports are dominated by fossil, mineral, and plant fuels, including coal, lignite, and peat (11%). Wool may only amount to a small percentage (2.5%) of Australia's exports, but Australia supplies the world with almost half of its imported wool. Food products such as wheat, sugar, and meat exports tie with fuel exports as one of the top commodities leaving the country. The top exports in 2000 were as follows:


Coal, lignite, and peat 8.5
Crude petroleum 6.8
Base metal ores 6.5
Gas, natural and manufactured 5.9
Meat 4.6
Gold 4.5
Aluminum 4.0
Wheat 3.5
Road vehicles 3.0

In 2000 Australia's imports were distributed among the following categories:


Consumer goods 19.5%
Food 4.2%
Fuels 8.4%
Industrial supplies 20.6%
Machinery 28.4%
Transportation 18.4%
Other 0.6%

Principal trading partners in 1998 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:


Japan 12,600 9,413 3,187
United States 6,344 14,255 -7,911
China (inc. Hong Kong) 5,538 5,569 -31
Korea 5,230 2,937 2,293
New Zealand 3,798 2,739 1,059
Singapore 3,386 2,234 1,152
United Kingdom 2,169 4,175 -2,006
Indonesia 1,673 1,682 -9
Malaysia 1,367 2,591 -1,224
Germany 752 3,583 -2,831

User Contributions:

Cornelius Squalls
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jan 26, 2015 @ 3:15 pm
This site is just what I was looking for and will be an excellent source of information!
However, how often is your information updated and if not regularly where can I find more
up to date data?

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: