Australia Trade: These Are The Top Commodity Imports & Exports

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Source: WikiMedia Commons

Economy of Australia – Overview

With annual exports of $195 billion, Australia is the 23rd largest export economy in the world, although, annual imports of $187 billion mean that the country has a positive trade balance of $7.92 billion.

The GDP of Australia is $1.2 trillion and this amounts to a GDP per capita of $46,800.

Australia is ranked as the second wealthiest nation in terms of wealth per adult – only Switzerland has a higher rate.

The territory of New South Wales dominates Australia’s services trade and accounts for 42% of the entire country’s services exports, which are worth about $29 billion per year.

Australia’s Top 5 Commodity Exports

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Iron Ore $38.8 billion
Gold $13.5 billion
Wheat $3.57 billion
Copper Ore$3.2 billion
Coal Briquettes$27.2 billion

Australia’s Other Notable Exports

  1. Frozen Bovine Meat – $3.13 billion
  2. Wool – $2.24 billion
  3. Aluminum – $2.15 billion
  4. Sheep and Goat Meat – $1.94 billion
  5. Wine – $1.69 billion

Iron ore is a significant export product, accounting for 24% of their total annual exports. Key export destinations for Australia are China ($55.1 billion), Japan ($18.9 billion), South Korea ($11.2 billion), the United States ($8.26 billion) and the United Kingdom ($7.41 billion).

Australia’s Top 5 Commodity Imports

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Refined Petroleum $10.7 billion
Crude Petroleum $5.9 billion
Gold $4.4 billion
Coffee $453 million
Diamonds $424 million

Australia's Other Notable Imports

  1. Cars – $16 billion
  2. Computers – $6.07 billion
  3. Broadcasting Equipment – $3.63 billion
  4. Delivery Trucks – $5.42 billion
  5. Packaged Medicaments – $5.64 billion

More Information About Australia’s Commodities

Iron Ore

Australia is the world's leading exporter of iron ore by some margin, enjoying a 58% share of the global $66.6 billion market, with their nearest rival, Brazil, being responsible for 20% of that annual export total.

The vast majority of Australia’s iron ore exports head to China, who accounts for 84% of the country’s exports.


Australia is the sixth largest exporter of gold in the world and has a 4.1% share of an annual export market that is worth $324.6 billion.

The United Kingdom (39%) and Hong Kong (35%) are key exports destinations for Australia’s gold exports, followed by China who receives 15% of the country’s annual output.


The annual global wheat export market is worth $36.3 billion and Australia is the fourth largest exporter with a 9.9% market share.

The top 15 exporting countries account for almost 90% of the global wheat market and while some countries such as Poland (up 158%) and Romania (up 82.3%), have increased their export share, Australia posted a decline of 46.9% over the same five-year period.

Copper Ore

Australia is the fourth largest exporter of copper ore in the world and enjoys a 7.5% share of an annual market worth $44.2 billion, with Chile (28%), Peru (19%) and Indonesia (7.9%) the leading trio of copper ore exporters.

China imports 35% of Australia’s annual copper ore exports and the second-largest destination is Japan (12%).

Coal Briquettes

Australia is the leading exporter of coal briquettes with a 40% share of an annual export market worth $67.7 billion.

Japan (32%), China (21%) and India (17%) are the top importers of coal briquettes from Australia.

Coal is mined in every state of Australia but the bulk of the production is focused in New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria, with 75% of the coal mined being exported.

Did you know? One of Australia’s more unusual exports is the supply of camels to Saudi Arabia.

A Few Interesting Facts About Australia

  • There are more kangaroos in Australia than people.
  • There are also three times as many sheep as humans in the country.
  • 25% of Australia’s residents were born overseas.
  • A large part of Australia is desert and 90% of the population live on the coast.

All figures based on OEC/IMF 2016 projections unless otherwise stated.

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