Many have heard the expression “when China sneezes Australia catches a cold”, a reference to the importance of the health of the Chinese economy when it comes to the economic fortunes of Australia.
This is no better demonstrated than in the table below, supplied by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). While it is now slightly dated, it reveals Australia’s top 15 trade partners for 2015.
There’s one name right at the top that sticks out: China.
According to DFAT, trade in goods and services between Australia and China totaled $155.502 billion, representing a whopping 23.2% of total trade in and out of Australia.
At $70.201 billion, that with the United States came in a distant second at 10.5%, even after a 15.9% increase on the levels of a year earlier.
While the total value of trade between Australia and rose 2% from a year earlier, the increase was entirely driven by a surge in Chinese imports which jumped by a staggering 18.3% to $64.204 billion, accounting for 18.2% of total imports.
The value of Australian exports to China actually fell to $91.297 billion over the same period, a drop of 7% on the level of 2014. Despite this, it still remained Australia’s top export destination by some distance, accounting for 28.8% of total export values.
Japan and the United States took out second and third spots, accounting for 13.4% and 7.0% respectively.
In absolute terms, the value of Australian exports fell by 3.2% to $316.59 billion in 2015, with slumping commodity prices partially offset by a weaker Australian dollar.
Imports, on the other hand, rose by 4.7% to $352.743 billion, with weakness in the Aussie offset by lower fuel prices.