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Overseas Trade Indexes (Volumes): June 2012 quarter (provisional)
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  03 September 2012
Commentary

All comparisons are between the June 2012 quarter and the March 2012 quarter, and are seasonally adjusted, unless otherwise stated.

For the June 2012 quarter, seasonally adjusted export volumes fell 0.4 percent and seasonally adjusted import volumes fell 3.1 percent.

Export volumes show small decrease

Seasonally adjusted export volumes fell 0.4 percent in the June 2012 quarter, after a fall of 0.6 percent in the March 2012 quarter. The trend for export volumes remains at record levels.

Dairy products and fish and fish preparations contributed to the fall. Partly offsetting these decreases were increases in non-fuel crude materials (such as forestry products) and casein.  

Graph, selected merchandise export volume indexes, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, June 2003 to June 2012.  

Dairy products contribute most to export volume fall

Dairy product volumes fell 4.9 percent in the June 2012 quarter. The fall was across all the major dairy products (milk powder, butter, and cheese). This follows a 6.2 percent increase in the December 2011 quarter and a 3.0 percent increase in the March 2012 quarter. The trend for dairy product volumes remains at high levels.

Other key changes in export volumes

In the June 2012 quarter, other changes included the following:

Fish and fish preparations fell 7.7 percent, with crustaceans and molluscs, and fish both down. This follows a rise of 6.1 percent in the March 2012 quarter.

Non-fuel crude material volumes rose 14 percent. The largest contributions came from forestry products (up 3.9 percent), and animal oils and fats (up 26 percent).

Casein volumes rose 24 percent, after a rise of 2.0 percent in the March 2012 quarter.

Import volumes down 3.1 percent

Seasonally adjusted import volumes fell 3.1 percent in the June 2012 quarter, after a 5.6 percent rise in the March 2012 quarter. The trend for import volumes increased 23 percent from the June 2009 quarter, the most recent low point, and is at a new high. When fuel imports are excluded, import volumes rose 0.6 percent in the June 2012 quarter.

Of the three main broad economic categories, intermediate goods were the main contributor to the latest decrease. Capital goods and consumption goods both rose.

Graph, selected merchandise import volume indexes, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, June 2003 to June 2012.  

Intermediate goods contribute most to import volume fall

The volume of intermediate goods fell 12 percent in the June 2012 quarter, after a 12 percent rise in the March 2012 quarter. Primary fuels and lubricants (down 33 percent) was the largest contributor to the latest fall. This compared with the March 2012 quarter, when it contributed the most to the rise in intermediate goods. Processed fuels and lubricants (up 14 percent) had the largest increase in the June 2012 quarter, led by diesel.

Other key changes in import volumes

In the June 2012 quarter, other changes included the following.

Capital goods rose 9.4 percent, after a 22 percent fall in the March 2012 quarter. Capital machinery and plant (other than transport equipment) was the main contributor, up 13 percent. Capital transport equipment fell 39 percent.

Consumption goods rose 2.4 percent, after a 2.8 percent rise in the March 2012 quarter. Processed food and beverages for household (up 4.6 percent) was the largest contributor to the rise. All the consumption goods categories recorded increases in the latest quarter, except durable goods.

Passenger motor car volumes rose 29 percent, and is now at its highest level since the series began in September 1982. The latest rise follows an 11 percent decrease in the March 2012 quarter. Passenger motor cars are at their highest quarterly value as mentioned in the Overseas Merchandise Trade: June 2012 information release. The latest increase was led by new diesel cars with cylinder capacities exceeding 1500cc.

Motor spirit (petrol and aviation fuel) volumes rose 48 percent, and are at their highest level since the series began. This increase was led by premium petrol.

For more detailed data see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box.

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