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Australia's trade by state and territory

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Media Release

Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

New trade figures showed that Western Australia accounted for more than one-third of the nation's exports of goods and services in 2009-10 financial year.

The publication, Australia's Trade by State and Territory, shows that while the Global Financial Crisis affected Australia's trade performance in terms of prices, volumes rose in many cases.

So while the value of exports was down, volumes rose an overall 4.3 per cent. In the Northern Territory they were up 9.7 per cent; in Western Australia there was a rise of 7.2 per cent. Volumes climbed 6.8 per cent in Queensland and 5.9 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.

Western Australia was the leading export state, with nearly $89 billion worth of exports. This was down 3.7 per cent on 2008-09, but still represented 35 per cent of Australia's exports.

Other highlights in the publication:

  • Queensland and New South Wales followed Western Australia, with approximately $52 billion in exports from each state.
  • Western Australia was the leading merchandise exporter and, despite export values being lower, volumes still rose, underpinned by iron ore and crude petroleum.
  • New South Wales continued as the nation's leading services exporter, with $20.8 billion worth of services exports in 2009-10 - this represented 39.4 per cent of the nation's services exports.
  • ACT exports rose 8.0 per cent to $1.1 billion on the back of increased education-related travel.

The state and territory breakdowns for exports were as follows:

Western Australia - $88.7 billion, down 3.7 per cent

A decline in the value of merchandise exports was partially offset by a small rise in the value of services exports. In particular, exports of education-related travel and technical and trade-related business services helped drive a 1.6 per cent increase in services exports. Merchandise exports suffered a 4.1 per cent decline from 2008-09, mainly because of declines in the value of exports of gold (down 18.9 per cent), natural gas (down 20.4 per cent) and wheat (down 39 per cent). Rises were recorded in crude petroleum (up 12 per cent) and copper ores (up 29 per cent). Exports of Western Australia's biggest export commodity, iron ore, were relatively stable despite price rises. Exports of iron ore increased by 1.8 per cent to $34.1 billion - iron ore accounted for nearly 41 per cent of the state's total merchandise exports.

Queensland - $52.1 billion, down 20.6 per cent

Although coal was Queensland's biggest export and accounted for 47.4 per cent of the state's total merchandise exports, the value of shipments fell 32.3 per cent to $20.5 billion. Other declines occurred in beef and aluminium (both down 18.6 per cent). These falls were partly offset by rises in copper (up 21.5 per cent) and other ores - mainly lead and zinc ores -(up 57.4 per cent).

NSW - $51.9 billion, down 13.8 per cent

Accounting for 27.1 per cent of NSW's total merchandise exports, coal exports dropped 34.4 per cent to $8.5 billion. Falls were also recorded for aluminium (down 21.1 per cent), medicaments (down 5 per cent) and refined petroleum (down 20.6 per cent), while copper ores rose 21.6 per cent. Services exports declined 3.3 per cent to $20.8 billion - still the highest of any state or territory - with transport services falling 15.1 per cent. Travel services rose 6.5 per cent.

Victoria - $31.5 billion, down 4.6 per cent

The value of merchandise exports fell 9.6 per cent but this was partially offset by a 3.5 per cent rise in services exports, mainly travel services. Of merchandise exports medicaments were up 8.8 per cent and wool by 60.1 per cent. There were falls in passenger motor vehicles exports (down 6.4 per cent), aluminium (down 27.4 per cent) and milk and cream (down 35.6 per cent).

South Australia - $10.2 billion, down 11.1 per cent

A 14.3 per cent rise in travel services partially offset the 14.6 per cent fall in merchandise exports. South Australia's biggest merchandise export, alcoholic beverages, although down 15.6 per cent, accounted for 16.5 per cent of the state's total merchandise exports. Copper (down 44.9 per cent) and wheat (down 40.8 per cent) also declined in 2009-10. Offsetting these falls were iron ore (up 44.1 per cent) and copper ores (up $554 million).

Northern Territory - $5.9 billion, down 17.4 per cent

The 20.9 per cent fall in merchandise exports was partially offset by a 9.1 per cent increase in services. Natural gas dropped 29.8 per cent, other ores & concentrates - mainly manganese ores - fell 6.0 per cent, and pearls and gems declined 37.6 per cent. Exports of iron ore rose 51.2 per cent, while live animals exports remained steady. Export volumes from the Territory were up 9.7 per cent, the highest of any state or territory.

Tasmania - $3.4 billion, down 13.8 per cent

Both merchandise and services exports suffered a decline in 2009-10. However zinc, the state's largest merchandise export, rose 2.8 per cent and accounted for 19.2 per cent of total merchandise exports. Falls were recorded in aluminium (down 10.3 per cent), wood chips (down 27.3 per cent), copper ores (down 6.5 per cent) and other ores - mainly tin and manganese ores - (down 7.8 per cent).

ACT - $1.1 billion, up 8.0 per cent

Principally a services exporter, the ACTS's education-related travel rose 24 per cent to $326 million.

The figures are contained in Australia's Trade by State and Territory 2009-10, which provides a complete statistical guide to exports and imports of goods and services for every State and Territory on a financial year basis.

It is part of a series published each year by DFAT, providing an account of 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 3047, or fax (02) 6261 3321 or email

The analyses and tables from the publications are available without charge on the DFAT website.

Last Updated: 31 January 2011
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