17 November 2023

South Australia our fastest growing exporter for second month running

| James Day
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An aerial view of Port Pirie on river during sunset

“Opportunities in our region abound, and our state’s continued growth demonstrates the desire for South Australia’s products internationally,” said Minister for Trade and Investment Nick Champion. Photo: Wirestock.

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Statistics (ABS), South Australia’s exports rose 14 per cent in the year to September 2023. The state has now led the country in export growth for two months, as their Trade Minister ramps up for a mission to India, and almost 30 local companies wrap up their showcases at China’s largest international trade event.

The state’s growth rate has been largely credited to its Asia trading partners – four of its top five export destinations are in the Asia-Pacific: exports to Malaysia are now worth $1.3 billion and Thailand $1.1 billion. Exports to China rose 45 per cent ($907 million); Thailand 92 per cent ($542 million); Indonesia 65 per cent ($356 million); the United States 14 per cent ($197 million); and Vietnam 32 per cent ($120 million).

On a domestic level, the state’s growth beat the nation (2.5%) and Western Australia (8.9%), the only other region to have grown in the same period. The value of Australia’s overseas goods exports increased by $14 billion up to $573.5 billion, of which South Australia accounted for 3.1 per cent.

READ ALSO South Australia’s economy now ranked second in the nation

“The work undertaken by the Government to build and expand a cohesive international footprint re-engaging in the post-pandemic world continues to pay dividends,” said Minister for Trade and Investment Nick Champion.

“South Australia is not only leading the nation in overall export growth, but we are also increasing the presence of our goods in key global markets.

“Off the back of our hard-working South Australians across the mining, agriculture, and business sectors, the state continues to be in a position to take advantage of the geopolitical uncertainty.”

export charts

The value of overseas goods exports totalled $573.5 billion, a 2.5 per cent ($14 billion) increase between September 2022 and 2023. Photo: SA Department of Treasury and Finance.

Ahead of Minister Champion’s trade mission to India this month, the country showed an 11 per cent increase in exports, bringing the total value to $1.1 billion. It will be the first time a minister from the state has visited since 2017 with the express purpose of making the most of the Australia-India Economic Co-operation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA), which came into effect on 29 December last year and eliminated tariffs on most exports.

Looking closer at South Australia’s fifth largest export destination, there was massive growth across the board from the state’s agricultural produce. Lentils rose by 231 per cent to $505 million; almonds by 770 per cent to $10 million; wheat as a renewed import since the tariffs were removed came to $33.8 million.

Graph showing wheat ahead, with fruits & vegetables, wine, meat, and seafood following respectively. Refined copper and copper products leading, with iron ore and concentrates, petroleum following respectively.

Wine exports declined by 12% ($165 million) between September 2022 and 2023. However, the five-month review of Chinese tariffs on Australian wine is expected to improve the situation. Photo: SA Dept. of Treasury and Finance.

Between 5 and 10 November, several South Australian exporters attended the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, predominantly from the food and wine sectors. The event showcased the state’s produce to over 350,000 registered attendees.

Fuelling the growth was an increased demand for iron ore and concentrates that rose by 40 per cent to $1.1 billion, almonds went up 17 per cent to $111 million, and cheese 300 per cent. Following the lifting of several trade barriers, barley, which re-entered the market for the first time since late 2020, now totals $12.4 million. The value is on track to return to levels shown in May 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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