Skip to main content

Australian Exports Approach $300 billion

News, speeches and media

Media Release

Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australia's total goods and services exports increased 17.3 per cent year-on-year, to $297.5 billion, in the 2010-11 financial year, contributing to a record trade surplus of $20.9 billion.

The export growth was significantly higher than the growth in imports of total goods and services, which was up 7.1 per cent to $276.6 billion, according to a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade publication, Composition of Trade 2010-11, released today. The growth in exports was led by a 48.7 per cent increase in mineral exports, to $79.3 billion, and a 21.7 per cent increase in fuel exports, to $69.2 billion.

The $20.9 billion record surplus on Australia's goods and services trade in 2010-11 shows a strong recovery from the deficit of $4.6 billion recorded in 2009-10.

The report also shows:

  • Australia's trade volumes increased 5.4 per cent
  • Australia's terms of trade increased 20.6 per cent to near record levels
  • China was Australia's largest two-way trade partner ($113.3 billion) followed by Japan ($67.7 billion) and the United States ($50.6 billion).
  • Australia's top three exports were iron ore & concentrates ($58.4 billion, up 66.5 per cent), coal ($43.9 billion, up 20.3 per cent) and education-related travel services ($15.8 billion, down 12.5 per cent).
  • Australia's top three imports were personal travel services (excluding education) ($21.7 billion, up 11.4 per cent), crude petroleum ($19.3 billion, up 31.1 per cent) and passenger motor vehicles ($14.5 billion, down 3.0 per cent).

The boost in exports came despite the slowdown in Japan – one of Australia's key trading partners – caused by the earthquake and tsunami in March this year.

An article in this publication on the impact of the great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 shows that the event had an immediate and substantial negative impact on Japan's economy and trade. The analysis also shows that Japan is recovering relatively quickly and GDP is expected to grow in 2012.

The release Composition of Trade 2010-11 introduces a new era in DFAT statistical information. An accompanying range of tables have been released in pivot table format using MS Excel, a tool that enables users to easily access trade time series data.

The report is part of a series published each year by DFAT on Australia's international trade in goods and services. DFAT also offers a customised consultancy service. For further information please contact (02) 6261 3047, or fax (02) 6261 3321 or email

The analyses and tables from the publications and the new pivot table are available without charge on the DFAT website: /publications/stats-pubs/composition_trade.html.

Last Updated: 8 December 2011
Back to top