Australia's Composition of Trade 2008

Media Release

17 June 2009

Media Release

Australia's total value of trade in goods and services increased 23.1 per cent in 2008 to $561 billion, according to a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Publication, Composition of Trade Australia 2008, released today.

In volume terms, total trade rose 7.7 per cent.

2008 Highlights:

  • Japan re-emerged as Australia's largest trading partner in 2008, with two-way trade valued at $76 billion (up 39 per cent).  Australia's coal and iron ore exports to Japan increased strongly, and Australian imports of refined petroleum and transportation services also increased.
  • In 2007, China was Australia's largest trading partner but last year the total value of Australia-China trade was $74 billion (up 27 per cent).  The United States was Australia's third largest trading partner ($55 billion).
  • Exports increased by 27.6 per cent in value terms to $278 billion and 3.9 per cent in volume terms.
  • Australia's top three exports were coal ($47 billion up 124.6 per cent), iron ore and concentrates ($30 billion up 85.4 per cent) and education services ($16 billion up 23.4 per cent)
  • Imports increased by 18.9 per cent in value terms to $283 billion, and 10.2 per cent in volume terms.  China replaced the United States as our largest import source.
  • Japan remained Australia's largest export market ($53 billion) followed by China ($37 billion) and the Republic of Korea ($20 billion).
  • India became Australia's fifth largest export market ($16 billion) up from seventh in 2007, and it became Australia's eighth largest trading partner, up from tenth in 2007.
  • Australia's terms of trade increased by 13.4 per cent, reaching their highest level since the early 1950s.

Composition of Trade Australia 2008, (COT) provides a comprehensive analysis of the growth, direction and commodity breakdown of Australia's merchandise exports and imports in recent years.  The services trade over a five year period is assessed.

The COT is part of a series published each year by DFAT, providing a valuable 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 3114, or fax (02) 6261 3321 or email statssection@dfat.gov.au

The analyses and tables from the publications are placed on the DFAT website at :

http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/stats-pubs/composition_trade.html

Hard copy orders can also be placed at this site.

Media Enquiries: DFAT Media Liaison - 02 6261 1555

Last Updated: 14 January 2013