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18 December 2013

Australia's total export volumes grew by 6.0 per cent in 2012-13 according to Composition of Trade, Australia 2012-13 and Trade in Primary and Manufactured Products 2012-13, two publications released today by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Leading the growth in export volumes, minerals and fuels increased by 9.8 per cent in 2012-13, well above the average rate of 5.3 per cent for these exports over the past 10 years.

Rural export volumes also grew strongly, up 8.7 per cent in 2012-13.

Overall, export values fell 4.5 per cent to $301.5 billion in 2012-13, as the increase in export volumes was outweighed by the fall in export prices (down 9.9 per cent).

In 2012-13, China remained Australia's top trading partner, with two-way trade valued at $131.0 billion, accounting for 21.1 per cent of total trade. Japan ($69.2 billion) and the United States ($53.9 billion) followed, accounting for 11.2 per cent and 8.7 per cent of total trade respectively.

The publications’ other key points include:

2012-13 was the third straight year of rising food exports, up 6.2 per cent to $31.1 billion. Within the food category exports of wheat increased 6.3 per cent to $6.8 billion and vegetables, fruit and nuts, rose 19.0 per cent to $2.2 billion;

Exports of natural gas rose strongly, up 19.4 per cent to $14.3 billion. Natural gas is Australia's 5th largest export item after iron ore, coal, gold and education services;

 Australia's imports of goods and services rose 0.2 per cent in 2012-13, with growth in processed food imports, up 5.8 per cent to $10.9 billion; and

 Australia's terms of trade fell 9.8 per cent.

Leading feature pieces in this year's Composition of Trade, include “Confidentialisation of ABS merchandise statistics and its impact on partner country aggregates”; “Low-value threshold goods”; “Forthcoming changes to DFAT’s trade statistical publications and products”; and “Changes to DFAT’s trade statistical pivot tables”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be making a number of changes to the content and range of its statistical products on the DFAT website in 2014. The Composition of Trade publication will incorporate tables from the Trade in Primary and Manufactured Products publication from the 2013 issue onwards. The 2012 13 issue is the final edition of the Trade in Primary and Manufactured Products publication.

The analyses and tables from the publications, along with Excel pivot tables, are available on the DFAT website or please email for a customised consultancy service.

For all the latest trade news go to 


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