Queensland’s 12-month trade data to the end of February reflects the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, but shows annual beef and LNG exports strong for the year to date, according to international trade figures just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS data released on 7 April shows that, in the 12 months to end February 2020, Queensland’s goods exports were valued at $83.3 billion, down 0.1% ($99 million) from the same period last year, largely due to the fall in exports following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key areas experiencing impacts in January and February were seafood, horticulture and meat exports to various markets, especially China, which is Queensland’s largest market for the export of goods.

However, beef export figures for the year to date were a bright spot, with exports for the 12 months to the end of February valued at $6.8 billion, up 23.6% ($1.3 billion) from the same period last year.

This reflects strong sales prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The outbreak reduced beef exports, especially to China, and its overall impact on Queensland’s beef exports is expected to become clearer in coming months.

LNG exports also performed well, valued at $15.4 billion for the 12 months to the end of February, up 3.1% ($455 million) from the same period last year. LNG deliveries to China decreased in January and February due to COVID-19, but this was offset by deliveries to alternative LNG markets such as Malaysia, Korea and Japan.

Vegetable exports also held steady for the year ending February 2020, led by chickpea exports, primarily to Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The rankings of Queensland’s top export markets remained unchanged in the 12 months to the end of February, with China, Japan, India and Korea still the top four destinations for Queensland goods.

Future trade figures are expected to reveal more about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Queensland exports to various markets.

Queensland is consistently among Australia’s strongest export performers, with annual export income in recent data periods regularly exceeding that of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania combined.

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.