Queensland’s trade data for the 12 months to the end of April reflects the impacts of COVID-19 and falling resources prices but also shows increases in the value of LNG and beef exports for the year to date.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released on 4 June show that the value of Queensland’s goods exports totalled $81.3 billion, a fall of 5.0% compared with the same period last year.

The decrease was driven by subdued industrial production across several of Queensland’s major trading partners, exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has lowered both demand and prices for key commodities.

Queensland Treasury estimates that the value of Queensland’s coal exports fell by 10.2% to $40.6 billion in the 12 months to April 2020, reflecting substantial decreases in export prices for all types of coal, although the state’s volume of coal exports rose marginally (up 0.1%).

Minerals exports also fell 2.7% to $10.3 billion in the 12 months to April 2020, driven by a decline in the value of aluminium exports, mainly due to lower alumina unit prices.

On the other hand, Queensland Treasury estimates that the value of LNG exports rose 2.9% to $15.8 billion in the 12 months to April 2020, due to an increase in export volumes. Growth in the volume of LNG exports has been driven by new gas developments boosting supply into the tight east coast domestic gas market, making more gas available for export. While exports to China have decreased, this has been offset by an increase in exports to Malaysia and Korea.

The value of beef exports also rose – up 17.2% to $6.7 billion in the 12 months to April 2020, driven by an increase in both export prices and volumes. While the initial COVID-19 outbreak led to a substantial fall in export volumes to China, April saw Queensland beef exports to China returning to levels seen a year ago.

China remained Queensland’s largest goods export market for the period, although it did record a decline compared to the same period last year, as did other key markets such as Japan, India and Korea.

In contrast, the 12 months to April 2020 saw increases in the value of exports to markets such as Vietnam (up 33.4%), Malaysia (up 26.0%) and the USA (up 9.7%) compared to the same period last year.

Queensland is consistently among Australia’s strongest export performers, with the annual total of merchandise exports exceeding that of New South Wales and Victoria combined since July 2018.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

Information for exporters affected by COVID-19 is available on the TIQ industry recovery package webpage.

Image credit: Santos