SA sets record export high as growth outstrips neighbours

12 Apr 2023
South Australian exports have topped $17 billion for the first time in the State’s history, with local export growth outpacing neighbouring states and territories.
The record figure represents a 27 per cent increase in the 12 months to February 2023, smashing the previous record of $16.5 billion set in the year ending January 2023. Export value from South Australia is worth $3.6 billion more than at the same time last year.
The State’s growth is now stronger than Victoria (up 15 per cent), Western Australia (up 12 per cent), Northern Territory (up 8 per cent) and Tasmania (up 1 per cent).
Fuelling local growth was exports to China which – for the third month in a row – recorded a spike on the previous year, up 33 per cent to $2.5 billion.

The steady turnaround and stabilisation of Australian-Chinese relations have seen SA’s trade relationship bounce back from the export low of $1.85 billion experienced to the year ending June 2022. Underpinning the recovery has been an increased demand by China for iron ore and concentrates, refined copper and wheat.
Malaysia, the State’s third-biggest destination market, also recorded a big jump (up 39 per cent to $1.33 billion) while other key Asian markets continued to boom, including South Korea (up 110 per cent) and the Philippines (up 70 per cent).
Eight of South Australia’s top 10 export markets increased in value, with four of the State’s five biggest trading partners hailing from Asia – highlighting the importance of the South Australian Government’s recent trade missions to the region, which sought to further develop ties and build export opportunities with trading partners.
Rising demand for refined copper (up 67 per cent to $2.5 billion) and wheat (up 65 per cent to $2.5 billion) largely drove South Australia’s growth, while increases in canola (up 101 per cent) and lentils (up 130 per cent) supported the record figures.
A record local crop harvest of 12.8 million tonnes in the 2022-23 financial year – combined with high grain prices and reduced global supply – helped contribute to the record result, with new markets in Yemen, Iraq and Sudan continuing to seek South Australian produce.
Asian markets also substituted corn with feed wheat following SA’s bumper wheat season as the global export supply of corn tightened, further fuelling the sector’s growth. As global wheat supplies start to normalise, however, prices are expected to fall.
Bulk agriculture and mineral commodities are combined estimated to represent about 80 per cent of South Australia’s goods export value and these continue to drive growth.