China turnaround as South Australian exports surge to record new high

08 Feb 2023
South Australian exports continue to hit new heights, booming to a record $16.4 billion following strong growth in Asian markets – and a sharp turnaround in the state’s biggest export market, China.
The record figure reflects a 25.3 per cent spike in the 12 months to December 2022, and a big jump on the previous high of $16 billion to the year ending October 2022.
Driving the growth was exports to China which – for the first time since May 2021 – recorded an increase in the 12-month period, up 10 per cent to $2.2 billion. This follows a steady recovery since a low of $1.85 billion to the year ending June 2022.  
Strong growth was also experienced in other key Asian markets including Malaysia (up 41 per cent to $1.3 billion), Philippines (up 30 per cent to $897 million) and Thailand (up 20 per cent to $659 million).
The positive China result follows a surge in demand for South Australian wheat, with China’s usual suppliers hit hard by drought and local producers cashing in on strong global grain prices and good seasons.
Rising demand in China for SA agricultural products was also a significant factor, including export increases in peas (up 260 per cent) and almonds (up 109 per cent).
It comes as positive relations build between the two countries following the Foreign Affairs Minister’s recent trip to China and Trade Minister’s upcoming travel to Beijing.
Overall, SA wheat exports were up 65 per cent to $2.2 billion as overseas buyers turned to new markets amid a lack of supply due to the war in Ukraine.
Global pressures also caused the average export price of canola and barley to increase – up 48 per cent and 45 per cent respectively – with new markets opening in the Middle East for barley to meet demand.
The value of wine exports – up 6 per cent to $1.35 billion – swung around to growth across Asia in Thailand (up 134 per cent) and Malaysia (up 99 per cent), as well as significant gains (up 43 per cent) in the United States.