Trade Update: July 2009 - June 2010

Trade : 29-09-2010

The trends observed in the trade update in March this year have been confirmed by the full financial year figures for 2009-10.

After years of deterioration Australia’s vegetable trade balance improved $79 million in 2009-10 due mainly to a 12.8% fall in the value of imports. The value of exports fell slightly by 1%. Nonetheless Australia’s balance of trade was strongly negative at $306 million in financial year 2009-10. This is in marked contrast to the early years of this century when the trade balance was positive.

In recent years the value of frozen and processed vegetable imports has increased substantially. While they fell in 2009-10, accounting for the improvement in the trade balance, they remain high with frozen imports valued at $184 million and processed imports at $204 million. Imports of fresh vegetables are much smaller but their value rose 18.5% in 2009-10,due largely to higher prices paid for garlic, the main fresh vegetable import , to total $58 million.

The value of vegetable exports has remained steady over the last five years totalling $250 million in 2009-10, the majority of which were fresh vegetables.

New Zealand, Japan and Singapore have been the top three export destination countries for the last five years. Exports to the Middle East continued to expand in 2009-10 and there was a notable increase in exports to near neighbours. Exports to Japan fell.

New Zealand, China, Italy and the United States were the major country of origin of imports in 2009-10, a position unchanged for the last five years. Imports were down from most major source countries. There were some notable increases in imports from minor countries such as Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Vietnam albeit off a low base.

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