Australia trades $109 billion in services in 2011

Media Release

26 July 2012

Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australia's total trade in services rose 1.4 per cent to $109.1 billion in 2011, according to Trade in Services, Australia 2011, released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade today.

Exports of services fell 3.4 per cent to $50.1 billion. The fall in exports of services is primarily attributed to a fall in total education services, reflecting a drop in foreign students studying in Australia. Overall, exports of services are only down 4.8 per cent from their peak of $52.7 billion in 2008.

This is a good result given the continued strength of the Australian dollar and economic weakness of our major services export markets in North America and Europe.

Australia's imports of services increased by 5.9 per cent to $59.0 billion, mainly due to a strong rise in travel services (up 8 per cent) to $26.1 billion, reflecting an increase in the number of Australians travelling abroad (up 9.6 per cent to a record 7.8 million).

Highlights from the report show:

  • Australia's top three services export markets in 2011 were China ($5.7 billion, down 3.7 per cent), the United States ($5.1 billion, up 1.4 per cent) and the United Kingdom ($3.9 billion, down 4 per cent);
  • Australia's top three services import sources were the United States ($10.9 billion, up 11.3 per cent), the United Kingdom ($4.8 billion, up 0.6 per cent) and Singapore ($4 billion, up 13.1 per cent);
  • Australia's trade in services volumes increased 3.1 per cent in 2011;
  • Exports of financial services showed strong signs of recovery, rising 38.1 per cent to $1.4 billion in 2011, though still below their peak of $2.8 billion in 2007;
  • Exports of engineering services rose 13.9 per cent to a record $1.7 billion; and
  • Exports of business travel services rose 20.1 per cent to $3.6 billion, as the number of business travellers to Australia rose 5.5 per cent to 1.1 million.

The Trade in Services Australia 2011 report is available at http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/stats-pubs/trade-in-services.html.

For further information please contact (02) 6261 3270 or email statssection@dfat.gov.au.

Last Updated: 26 July 2012