Japan is Qld’s top export destination once again, but only by a small margin

Thanks to the Japanese Ambassador for highlighting that Japan has overtaken China to return to being the top destination for Queensland exports, as Japan was for several decades prior to 2013 (see the chart below including data up to April 2022). Over the 12 months to the end of April 2022, Queensland exports to Japan were valued at $16.98 billion compared with Queensland exports to China of $16.83 billion (i.e. a lead of 0.9% ahead of China’s exports).

Glen Norris of the Courier Mail’s City Beat column wrote on Wednesday: 

Japanese ambassador Yamagami Shingo told a lunch hosted by the Queensland Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday that Japan was Queensland’s number one export destination in the year to April driven by demand for coal, gas and beef.

No doubt this is related largely to China having banned or imposed punitive tariffs on several Australian commodities, including thermal coal, barley, and beef. Another relevant factor would be the composition of exports to the different countries and how the total values have been affected by recent commodity price increases. In recent months, the value of Queensland’s exports to Japan have increased proportionately much more than those to China, probably due to coal and gas being a greater share of total exports to Japan than to China. 

While Japan is once again Queensland’s top export destination, Japan is not once again Queensland’s major trading partner, if you count imports as well. China remains Queensland’s top two-way trading partner. This is obvious from the chart below of Queensland’s imports from China and Japan, with imports from China ($13.9 billion yearly) well ahead of imports from Japan ($5.1 billion yearly).

Check out Queensland Treasury’s briefing on Queensland’s exports for further information. You’ll see how super-high commodity prices have pushed up the value of Queensland’s total merchandise exports to $99 billion in the twelve months to the end of April 2022, compared with $57 billion over the twelve months to the end of April 2021, a stunning 72% increase.   

Please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, you can email comments, questions, suggestions, or hot tips to contact@queenslandeconomywatch.com. Also please check out my Economics Explored podcast, which has a new episode each week. 

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