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Australia's trade in services for 2012

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Media Release

Media release

Australia's total trade in services increased 3.6 per cent year-on-year to $113.2 billion in 2012, according to Trade in Services, Australia 2012, released today by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The publication shows services exports rose 1.2 per cent to $50.9 billion in 2012 (accounting for 16.9 per cent of Australia's total exports) while imports of services increased 5.5 per cent to $62.4 billion (accounting for 19.7 per cent of Australia's total imports).

The biggest rises in services exports could be seen in professional & management consulting services, business travel services and financial services.

Professional services exports in particular rose 18.6 per cent to $3.9 billion – the highest level on record and above the pre-GFC peak of $3.7 billion. Within professional services, there were strong increases in management fees (up 52 per cent to $1.3 billion), accounting & auditing services (up 27.5 per cent to $561 million) and legal services (up 7.8 per cent to $647 million).

The number of business travellers to Australia rose 3.7 per cent to 1.1 million. This contributed to the increase in business travel services exports, of 14.9 per cent to $4.1 billion. Partially offsetting the exports rises were falls in education-related travel, transport services and intellectual property charges.

Other highlights from the publication for 2012 are:

  • Australia's top three services export markets were China ($5.7 billion, up 1.6 per cent), the United States ($5.3 billion, up 0.6 per cent) and the United Kingdom ($3.9 billion, down 0.8 per cent).
  • Australia's top three services import sources were the United States ($11 billion, up 1.5 per cent), the United Kingdom ($5 billion, down 1.6 per cent) and Singapore ($4.3 billion, up 8.1 per cent)
  • Australians travelling overseas rose 5.4 per cent to a record 8.2 million journeys (more than half were holiday makers) up from 3.5 million in 2002
  • Australia's largest services import, personal travel (excluding education-related), rose 0.7 per cent to $22.3 billion.

The feature article in this release looks at the trends in Australia's trade in services with Singapore. Singapore was Australia's fourth-largest two-way trade in services partner in 2012. Australia's two-way trade in services with Singapore was valued at $7.5 billion, and has grown by an average 8.4 per cent per annum over the past 20 years.

Singapore was Australia's fifth-largest services exports market (second-largest market in Asia after China) in 2012 and Australia's third-largest source of services imports (largest source from Asia).

Trade in Services 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 are available on the DFAT website, or please email for a customised consultancy service.

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Last Updated: 30 July 2013
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