Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D9 - Thursday, 3 June 2004

Composition of Trade Report Released

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade today released a new report Composition of Trade, Australia, 2003. The publication provides a comprehensive analysis of the growth, direction and commodity breakdown of Australia's merchandise exports in recent years, and details of services trade over a five year period. Over the last five years exports and imports have both risen by an average 6 per cent per annum.

Despite this strong trade growth, the publication highlights that Australian exporters encountered a challenging trading environment in 2003. T he value of Australia's total trade in goods and services decreased 3 per cent to $305.9 billion in 2003. Exports of goods and services fell 8 per cent to $141.0 billion, while imports of goods and services rose 1 per cent to $164.9 billion.

On-going drought, a subdued global economy and a stronger Australian dollar all impacted upon export performance in 2003. An easing of drought conditions in the latter part of the year brought a record 2003-04 wheat harvest leading to a strong rebound in rural exports in the four months to April 2004. With the global economy expected to grow strongly through 2004, Australian exports are set for further growth in coming months.

A number of key exports continued to perform strongly throughout 2003. Gold exports rose 10 per cent to $5.9 billion and exports of medicaments (such as penicillin and antibiotics) rose 14 per cent to $2.0 billion in 2003. In services, exports of education-related travel rose 8 per cent to reach $5.0 billion and exports of audio and visual services rose 53 per cent to $159 million in 2003.

Composition of Trade, Australia (priced at $53) is part of a series published each year by DFAT, providing comprehensive information on Australia's international trade in goods and services. DFAT also offers a customised consultancy service, producing reports tailored to specific requirements. For further information please contact (02) 6261 3114, or fax (02) 6261 3321 or email statssection@dfat.gov.au.

The analysis and summary tables from publications are placed on DFAT's website at http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/statistics.html. Orders for publications can also be placed at this site.

Media enquiries:  Nicole Guihot, DFAT Media Liaison Section, (02) 6261 1555