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Agriculture exports bounce back in 2011-12

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Media Release

Media release

New figures out this week show Australia's farmers and miners lifted primary exports more than 9 per cent in the 2011-2012 financial year, to nearly $200 billion.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Trade in Primary and Manufactured Products shows these exports accounted for nearly two-thirds of Australia's $315.8 billion total. Overall, exports grew by 6.2 per cent year-on-year in 2011-12.

Commodities such as gold and gas began to play a bigger role in driving export growth, as growth in iron ore and coal exports eased. Gold exports rose 16 per cent to $15.8 billion in 2011-12, and exports of gas were up 14 per cent to $12.9 billion, with natural gas becoming Australia's sixth-biggest export.

With the ending of the drought, exports of agricultural products continued their resurgence:

  • cereal grain exports (primarily wheat and barley) grew 22 per cent to $8 billion;
  • textile fibre exports grew 36 per cent to $5.5 billion, driven by a doubling of cotton exports;
  • exports of vegetables, fruit & nuts (fresh, chilled & frozen) were up 28 per cent, from $1.3 billion in 2010-11 to $1.7 billion in 2011-12; and
  • exports of cereal preparations (such as malt and milled rice) were up 53 per cent to nearly $800 million.

Engineering products, chemicals and other elaborately transformed manufactures drove Australia's growth in imports. Imports of elaborately transformed manufactures as a whole were up 11 per cent, from $140.5 billion in 2010-11 to $156 billion in 2011-12. Fuel imports grew by 19 per cent, from $33.6 billion to $40.1 billion.

Trade in Primary and Manufactured Products is part of a series published each year by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Australia's international trade in goods and services.

The analyses and tables from the publication, along with Excel pivot tables are available on the DFAT website: /publications/statistics.html.

DFAT also offers a customised consultancy service. For further information please contact (02) 6261 3047, or fax (02) 6261 3321 or email

Last Updated: 21 December 2012
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