Queensland’s merchandise trade data for the 12 months to the end of March reflects the impacts of COVID-19 and falling resources prices, but also shows exports increasing into some emerging Asian markets.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released on 7 May shows that the value of Queensland’s goods exports fell by 3.0% – from $84.6 billion in the 12 months to March 2019 to $82.1 billion in the 12 months to March 2020.

The decrease was driven by a fall in the value of some resources exports, with subdued industrial production across several of Queensland’s major trading partners lowering demand and prices.

Demand for steel has fallen worldwide, and COVID-19 lockdowns in key markets have reduced power demand, leading to a decline in prices for both metallurgical and thermal coal.

LNG exports were an exception, with Queensland Treasury estimating that the value of LNG exports rose by 0.7% to $15.4 billion in the 12 months to March 2020. LNG export volumes for March 2020 also show no discernible COVID-19 impact, with reduced deliveries to China offset by an increase in the number of deliveries to alternative LNG markets, such as Malaysia and Korea.

The value of beef exports also rose for the year to date, increasing by 19.1% to $6.7 billion in the 12 months to March 2020. This rise reflects both higher export prices and higher volumes, as Queensland graziers have slaughtered more cattle in response to drought conditions. On the other hand, beef exports to the Chinese market have fallen substantially since the COVID-19 outbreak began, with COVID-19 restrictions reducing demand from Chinese businesses such as restaurants.

Queensland merchandise exports to the state’s top 5 markets have also fallen over the past 12 months due to COVID-19, with exports to China, India and Korea dropping by around 1% and exports to Taiwan and Japan dropping by around 10%. However, exports to Vietnam and Malaysia increased by 36.3% and 41.2% respectively over the same period.

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.

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