Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D20 - 10 December 2004

Rebound in Exports Assisted by Strong Asian Demand

Two publications released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) today highlight signs of recovery in exports in 2003-04 from the challenging environment of the previous year.

Composition of Trade, Australia 2003-04 shows that exports turned around in the second half of the year with the rebound assisted by higher prices received for many rural goods, minerals and fuels, and manufactures.

Goods exports to Japan experienced strong growth from February 2004, driven by increased demand for coal, with June quarter 2004 exports being 18 per cent higher than June quarter 2003. Exports to China in June quarter 2004 were 37 per cent higher than the previous June quarter, reflecting China's continuing strong growth, particularly in infrastructure and manufacturing activities, and its ongoing demand for Australian iron ore.

Japan remained Australia's largest individual merchandise export market, accounting for 18 per cent ($19.8 billion) of total merchandise exports, followed by China ($9.9 billion) and the United States ($9.5 billion).

Services exports recovered quickly from the SARS-related reduction in tourism, with exports of travel services increasing by 11 per cent in 2003-04.

A second DFAT publication, Exports of Primary and Manufactured Products, Australia 2003-04, shows exports of manufactured goods made up 30 per cent ($33.0 billion) of all merchandise exports in 2003-04. In particular, exports of Australian-produced Elaborately Transformed Manufactures (ETMs) performed strongly in some key markets - rising to China (up nine per cent), the Republic of Korea (up four per cent), Germany (up eight per cent) and Taiwan (up six per cent).

Composition of Trade, Australia 2003-04 (priced at $55) provides a comprehensive analysis of the growth, direction and commodity breakdown of Australia's merchandise exports in recent years, as well as overall details of services trade over a five-year period.

Exports of Primary and Manufactured Products, Australia 2003-04 (priced at $43) focuses on the level of processing of export commodities, providing a comprehensive analysis of Australian-produced merchandise exports over the last 10 years.

These publications are 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 contact (02) 6261 3114, fax (02) 6261 3321 or email statssection@dfat.gov.au. The analysis and summary tables from publications, and an order form, are available at: www.dfat.gov.au/publications/statistics.html.

Media enquiries: DFAT Media Liaison on 02 6261 1555