Car, petroleum imports at multi-year lows

The import of cars and SUVs has declined significantly during the pandemic and is at the lowest value in nine years, while oil imports are at their lowest value in 15 years, trade figures show.

The value of imports in May was $21.9 billion, down nine per cent from April and down 18 per cent from May 2019, preliminary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Tuesday.

Petroleum imports in May were at their lowest level since February 2005, the ABS said.

The value of exports was $29.7 billion, down four per cent from April and down 13 per cent from May 2019, as exports of non-monetary gold, coal and gas fell, in part because of reduced demand from Australia’s key trading partners.

Iron ore exports remained strong as a result of global supply disruptions, particularly in Brazil.

“Exports of iron ore account for around a quarter of the value of all Australian exports and the ongoing strength in this commodity continues to prop up Australian exports,” the ABS said.

The official balance of payments data for May will be published on July 2.

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