Australian commodities have continued to be on demand throughout April despite exports slipping from record-high levels in March.
Preliminary figures on international goods trade from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed the value of Australian commodity exports in April fell by $4 billion, or 12 per cent from the record $35.8 billion figure the previous month.
Driving the drop was a $1.7 billion decrease in exports of non-monetary gold, nearly half of the extraordinarily high export values recorded last month.
“Trade in non-monetary gold is volatile and large month-to-month movements are not uncommon,” the ABS noted in its analysis.
Smaller decreases were also observed in other major resource commodities including iron ore, coal, gas and petroleum.
Despite the month-on-month fall, exports remain strong due largely to ongoing demand for Australian commodities, in particular iron ore from major trading partners across Asia.
China, Japan and Taiwan were the three major importers of Australia’s iron ore lumps between February 2020 to March 2020, while China, Japan and Hong Kong were the key importers of iron ore fines.
Year-on-year the value of exports in April 2020 was 1 per cent higher than the value recorded in April 2019.
The value of goods imported fell in April 2020, down 5 per cent on March 2020, due to decreases in imports of petroleum, aircraft, non-monetary gold, and road vehicles.
There were increased imports of commodities associated with the detection and prevention of COVID-19 in April 2020, including testing kits and personal protective equipment.
Year-on-year, the value of imports in April 2020 was down 7 per cent on April 2019 with large decreases in the value of imports of petroleum and road vehicles.